The deceiver deceived


Jacob arrives in Paddan Aram and is led, as was Abraham’s servant before him to the home of his uncle Laban and we see a different Jacob appearing. This should not surprise us in the light of his encounter with the LORD Almighty, for no one can encounter God and be unchanged.

Jacob’s vow prayer 20 v. 20-22 is already being answered as coming to the well at Paddan he immediately meets those who know his uncle and further he gets his first sight of Rachel. Their meeting stirred Jacob’s heart and emotions and led to a warm welcome into the family home which resulted, at the end of a month, with Laban offering to remunerate Jacob for working for him.

Jacob enthralled by Rachel commits himself to work for Laban for seven years in order to be given Rachel for his wife. The picture is beautiful. Such was his love for her that seven years seemed like a few days!

But then things went wrong and arguing from custom, Laban gives Jacob his older daughter Leah but promises that Rachel will be his if he works for another seven years. The Narrator is sparing with his words and comment.

And Jacob did so! Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah.

Jacob and his two wives continue to live with Laban and there follows a series of messy relationships as Leah and Rachel vie with each other to bear children and God sets the whole saga in motion as v.32 he opened Leah’s womb. She has four sons and then she stopped having children. Rachel is jealous and rails at Jacob Chapter 30 v.1 and Rachel does what Sarah had done with Abraham, and Jacob has a son with Rachel’s maidservant Bilhah.

So the account goes back and forth till Jacob via the wombs of four women ends up eleven sons and a daughter.

There is still more deceiving to come but the promise to Abraham is clearly on track as the family grows and is blessed with increasing riches and greatness.

I encourage you to read the whole narrative in chapters 29 and 30 and reflect on it.

As you do so thank God that the Bible shows us human beings, made in the image of God, warts and all. Jacob is a thoroughly nasty piece of work yet God in his sovereign grace takes him, changes him (slowly) and works his purposes through him. We may not think of ourselves as ‘nasty pieces of work’ but in reality that is what we were before God started his work in us, a work which continues each day as he equips us for doing the ‘good works that he has chosen in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2 v.10) and prepares us for glory.

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