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Gen. 29:1-35 - The School of Hard Knocks - Part 3
Picking it up from last week we’re gonna now see Laban bringin’ the crazy!
Vs. 22-26 - “ So Laban brought together all the people of the place and gave a feast. But when evening came, he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and Jacob made love to her. And Laban gave his servant Zilpah to his daughter as her attendant.
When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?”
Laban replied, “It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one.”
“Woulda been great if ya told me that 7 years ago!”
Is God doing this to get even with Jacob? Of course not! He’s sovereignly orchestrating this in order that He might weed out and correct the impatience in our Patriarch. He has a plan for Jacob. He loves him. But He loves him too much to leave him where he is. And yet, to you and I, doesn’t this seem a bit drawn out? Could this long, drawn out horrible lesson happen in our life?
Well, will we yield to the Spirit in our life? Will we run God’s program?
Paul tells us in Rom. 15:4 & 1 Cor. 10:11 - “These things were written for our instruction.”
Does it have to happen this way? Do we have to learn these drawn-out lessons? Are we required to take this particular class in school? NO!
You remember, Paul came to the Corinthians in1 Cor. 4:21 and said: “Hey, should I come to you in love, or should I come to you with the rod and the whip?”
You wanna avoid a whole lot of hassle and grief in our lives? Just yield to the Spirit of God and Daddy won’t have to spank us from time to time.
Rom. 2:4 - “Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” It is God’s kindness that leads to repentance.
And I think this is God’s preferred mode of leading His children to repentance. In the exact same way that we’d prefer to lead our own children to repentance. We would rather they respond to our kindness than our discipline.
Vs. 27-30 - “Finish this daughter’s bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work. And Jacob did so.
He finished the week with Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. Laban gave his servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her attendant. Jacob made love to Rachel also, and his love for Rachel was greater than his love for Leah.And he worked for Laban another seven years.”
So Labon again pulls the bait and switch routine on Jacob. And remember, Jacob is actually being conned in a very similar way that he conned his father Remember he conned his father by wearing the clothes of Esau, smelled like Esau, and so forth? It was the younger deceiving the father as if he was the elder. Well, now he’s being deceived by the elder pretending to be the younger.
Again, God is not mocked, a man sows what he reaps!
No doubt that Jacob at this point is thinking about some of these deeper character and heart issues that God is trying to root out with him.
Now, we gotta wonder about Leah here! What in the world was she thinking? Don’t just look at this as black letters on white pages as we have a tendency to do. Get into the bizarre-ity of this scene!
She knows what’s going on. Everyone knows this guy has been milking cows and cleaning the barn for 7 years to get Rachel, and now she’s going to come in under the cover of darkness all veiled and stuff. By the way, this story, in my opinion, deals a massive blow to any who would say that the Bible is boring!
But Jacob rolls over and wakes up in the morning and “What have you done to me!!”
And imagine poor ole’ Leah, right! I mean, she’s giving herself to this man, she’s made love to him, and come daylight he’s like: “Oh man, I’ve been ripped off.” What did that do to her?
But again, what was she thinking? Was she a willing accomplice? Did she think somehow she could make him love her? Maybe she was forced into the situation? We’re going to see later on that Labon is a wack job. Jacob’s going to fear for his life. Maybe she was forced into it, but whatever the reason, things are going to spin way out of control and this is the beginning of a horribly dysfunctional family! I mean come on, these are two sisters! 2 sisters are supposed to fight about clothes, right? But these 2 gals, married to the same guy at the same time, this is going to be a horrible situation!
So, off to the kid wars now, and it gets worse picking it up in vs. 31.
Vs. 31-35 - “When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.”
She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.” So she named him Simeon.
Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” So he was named Levi.
She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children.”
She’s not getting that it ain’t working. Finally vs. 35, things start to come around a bit. Now, all this lady wants to do is to have her husband love her. Understand the emotional trauma that this poor woman is going through. She is in love with a man who openly wants nothing to do with her. So she’s being neglected, but take note that the Lord took note! We all know people in this situation.
I think that whenever you are around or share with someone that’s being neglected by their spouse that you remind them of this passage here! Look, God takes note of the neglect that’s going on in your home. God knows what’s going on. You remain faithful to him in the midst of this deal and you are gonna be blessed. God is going to bless this woman and he’s going to bless you! And let’s remember that those around us who seem to be prosperous many times have alot of secret pain and sorrow. Those who seem to have money and honor may have lonely, hungry hearts. Above all let us remember that a loving God looks down and sees the need of the heart, and He did with Leah and Hagar!
I think we need to remind some of our friends that are in this situation of the very simple idea here in vs. 31 - “Take note that the Lord took note.”
And He blessed her. And understand, in this culture, having a child was something of great value. That was prosperity, that was blessing, a tremendous honor. There was no bigger blessing that the Lord could have endowed upon her. Here she is, this poor foolish woman is under the impression that since she’s having this guy’s baby that this guy is going to fall in love with her. And if that doesn’t work, I guess I’ll just have a couple more!
The firstborn son is Reuben, and Reuben means in the Hebrew - “Behold, a son!” So she thinks this son is going to turn this guy around. Doesn’t work!
She names the next one Simeon, which mean “hearing.” Again she thinks maybe he’ll hear it and get it after round two!
Round 3 produces Levi which means “attached, union.” Maybe now he’ll attach himself to me.
Son #4 is Judah which means “praise.” So finally, driven to the Lord by the neglect of her husband, it seems now that she’s beginning to develop the proper perspective.
She gets it. She recognizes that this guy’s not going to come around and so now her focus is properly the Lord, and saying: “Lord, I’m married to a jerk, that’s plain enough, but God is good!”
It also interests me that 2 of the greatest tribes come from this woman. This is the story of the 12 tribes of Judah!
Levi and Judah! All of the priests and all of the kings but one came from this woman! Then, of course, the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah!
So understand that Jesus Christ, in His lineage, comes out of this very negative situation. He identifies Himself with, she is part of, who He is. And that’s no small point. Christ didn’t come from aristocats, He came from a line of broken people! Christ identifies with, came through the broken and wounded.
So, Jacob had attended the school of hard knocks for 20 years, and at the end of his time there he was still struggling with himself and the lessons which needed to be learned.
Some of us learn more quickly than others because they realize there is little point in resisting what God is saying. The more quickly this is learned the sooner they can get on to other classes. But the longer people take to come to grips with the gracious but firm hand of the Lord in the affairs of life, the longer it takes them to mature.
Of course, there is no such thing as graduation from the school of Christ on this side of eternity. And as this school always offers graduate courses in hard knocks, there are many opportunities for those who really want to grow!