In Genesis 29 Part I, Jacob reached his final destination on God’s journey, weeping tears of joy as he saw the woman he was to marry. Yet he soon learns that we often become victims of our own sins…
Jacob remained patient, having both faith in God and hope for the future… Just as a father was patient to his prodigal son in Luke 15. Like the Thessalonians who patiently leaned on the Lord during persecution in 2 Thessalonians 1. And Hannah, who waited patiently for a son, praying constantly in 1 Samuel 1 and 2.
“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently… And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’ – Romans 8:24-28
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.’ – Galatians 6:9
Jacob displayed patience through selfless activity. He did not remain idle in his own blood’s house, even before Rachel’s father, Laban, offered him wages in return for his services. He realized the irreplaceable prize he would receive and that no amount of work could ever be too much.
“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.’ – Hebrews 6:10
When Jacob completed his service, he was ready to marry Rachel. Remember, Jacob was a trickster and deceived both his brother and father in Genesis 27. Funny how our perspectives change when we become the victim and not the culprit. (Galatians 6:7). Leah was most likely covered in veil, so Jacob did not recognize her until morning. Although Laban was deceitful, Jacob’s way of handling the situation made matters worse. He married two sisters, and obviously loved one more than the other! Oh how the deceiver is deceived! But even though Jacob was a deceiver, God’s plan was still actively working through his life. He was just learning along the way with a bit of discipline. But he continues to work seven more years to marry Rachel (that’s fourteen years total!). Let’s check out what the Bible has to say about this:
“Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time.’ – Leviticus 18:18
“And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away.’ – Deuteronomy 17:17
“Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.’ – 1 Corinthians 7:2
God is compassionate and sees Leah’s suffering. I mean who would want to be married to a man who loves your sister more, who is also your co-wife? Yeah, complicated. God opened her womb and left Rachel childless for the time being. Leah bore four sons: Reuben (“behold, a son”), Simeon (“hearing”), Levi (“attachment”), and Judah (“praise). The two greatest tribes (Levi and Judah) and the Messiah came from Leah’s line. Through her suffering in her marriage, she relied on God and developed a stronger relationship with Him. God is able to listen to our sufferings and his provisions have no limits.
[Fun fact: A 1995 survey asked the following question: “Have you ever had sex with a woman you have actively disliked?” 58% of men answered “yes.”]
By keeping our eye on the prize of eternal life with Christ Jesus, no amount of pain or suffering should ever seem too much to bear. It’s all worth it.
Aren’t you glad God doesn’t have to wait for us to only do right things in order to move forward on His sovereign will for history? His power is not limited by our imperfect actions.
Credit: David Guzik