Life has been crazy the past two weeks. I have gotten behind in my daily Bible blogging. The reading has been alright, but translating the word to thoughts has taken a backseat to pretty much every other activity that I am slammed with at the moment.
So Jacob starts a true relationship with God at the end of 28. What happens next is ironic. Jacob ran from home because he deceived his father and received his brother Esau’s birthright. Well, deception is about to hit Jacob full on. He goes to his uncle Laban’s house to live. There he falls head over heels in love with Rachel. He desires to marry her. Laban convinces Jacob that if he works for 7 years that he can marry Rachel. Sold. However, 7 years later… Somehow, uncle Laban deceives Jacob into marrying the older wandering eye sister, Leah. Not sure how Jacob was so blinded in this situation. Laban tells Jacob that if he puts in another 7 years of labor, that Rachel can be his too.
I fear that this polygamous marriage is going to be problematic, when in verse 31 it says that God opens Leah’s womb, but Rachel is left barren. This apparently because Jacob loved Rachel more. Oh yeah, Rachel and Leah both allow Jacob to have sex with their maidservants so that perhaps there would be more children. Wow. Pretty messed up family. Reality Show I would say. The rest of chapter 29 and the start of 30 we are introduced to Leah’s sons and the majority of the cast of an Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical.
In all this mess, Rachel prayed to God and in verse 22 “And then God remembered Rachel.” Joseph is born.
Then there is this odd story of the sorting of the animals in 30 and 31. Jacob wants to leave Laban’s land. He wants some property. Jacob, the deceiver, than the deceived, then the deceiver tricks Laban. Somehow he got extremely rich with animals and servants. It seems that Jacob is benefiting through the deception and some kind of slight of hand, but we find out that Laban was on to Jacob’s blessing from God and attempted to get the upper hand. In the end, we must believe by faith that God provides and sets right Jacob’s earnings for many years of devotion to Laban. Whew. Something for us to all remember. Anyway, Jacob is told by God to go home.
Laban chases after Jacob and the caravan, but is told by God to leave it be. Jacob reminds Laban in v42, “If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not stuck with me, you would have sent me off penniless. But God saw the fix I was in and how hard I had worked and last night rendered his verdict.” They make a covenant between each other. Jacob agrees to watch after Laban’s daughters and grandchildren.
And the caravan continues heading home toward Esau.
But before the homecoming… Chapter 32 has Jacob wrestling with “a man” (God or Jesus) all night. Apparently it was an all night cage match to submission, and Jacob held his own. He was not going to let go until God blessed him and their trip back to Esau. The man agrees and also changes Jacob’s name to Israel. I didn’t realize that Jacob=trickster and Israel=Wrestles with God/Perseveres)
Chapter 33 is a People of the Second Chance chapter. Forgiveness and reconciliation are the theme. What started out 20 years earlier when Jacob ran for his life from Esau ends up with coming together as two families in love and peace. They worship together. Which is a good place to stop, because Chapter 34 is going to make us forget the warm fuzzies really quickly.