Epistles to the Cyberchurch - Su Min

To: en & more
From: Su Min
Subject: Jacob Marries

To all my dearest beloved who are loved by God and called to be his saints, grace and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ! (Rom 1:7)

Today we look at Genesis 29.

After his experience of seeing the ladder and meeting God at Bethel, Jacob continues to Padam Aram where he asks of his uncle (vs 5) and sees his cousin Rachel (vs 10). He demonstrates his strength and courtesy by rolling away the large stone that covers the well, kisses his cousin and weeps. Tears of grief? I think not.. Surely tears of joy and thanksgiving that God had brought to him a beautiful kinsfolk destined to be his bride. Had not God promised to be with Jacob and watch over him, and not leave him till God's promise had been accomplished? Indeed, praise be to God!

A dutiful daughter, Rachel runs home and tells her father Laban (v12) who hurries to greet Jacob and bring him home (v13). From vs 15 we see that Jacob was enrolled into shepherding for the family. He declares his desire for Rachel (lovely in form and beautiful) and contracts to work 7 years for her hand in marriage (vs 18)

After 7 years, Dishonourable Laban does a dirty and slips elder sister Leah into the bridal bed. Jacob protests, and one week later gets to marry Rachel also, promising to serve another seven years. So into the Jacob household come two wives: plain looking Leah and beautiful Rachel, and Bilhah maidservant to Rachel.

Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah, and this must have grieved Leah. A son Reuben is born to Leah and she hopes that this will gain affection for her in Jacobs eye. But it does not. So she tries again. Simeon. Still no affection for Leah from Jacob. Again for the third time. Levi...Still no affection.. Again for a fourth time: Judah... sigh. Why does God teach us marriage is for one man one wife? Because any other combination is beyond God's design in our life.. All ye who hear, take heed!

The four main characters we come across are Jacob, Laban, Leah and Rachel. What can we learn from them?

As we read the story of Jacob we see that he was as much a man as any one of us could be, young, and he fell in love, and sought to work for his love. He must have erred in allowing himself to be married to the wrong sister, and if he could not get out of that trap, he must have erred by agreeing to have both of them. Nonetheless, God still used him to fulfil the work of God in creating a great nation descendant from Abraham. And so too for us lesser mortals, God can use us, full of mistakes and sins though we are, if we are willing, God will use us for His purpose. God calls. Will you respond?

Laban was a wily rascal. Lies and deceit. Not behaviour we want to emulate. Good example of what to avoid. Yet, sinner though he was, God used him as part of his mighty plan, for from his daughters are born the progenitors of the nation.

Leah is an example of a good person caught up in the vortex of other peoples mistakes. Of course she could have protested at being slipped into bed as her sister, but she probably thought that being older and plainer, this was not an opportunity to be missed. She was to suffer for this error, her wedding bliss to last for a week, and the love of her husband to be directed at her sister.

Of Rachel, we are to learn more later: she may not have been part of the initial plan of deceit to marry off Leah, but was it right in the eyes of God for her to agree to be the second wife?

Let us pray

Love dad

For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min

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