Recall friends, colleagues or family members who have spoken encouragement and blessing to you. Thank God for them.
Read Genesis 29:1-14
 Then Jacob continued on his journey and came to the land of the eastern peoples.  There he saw a well in the open country, with three flocks of sheep lying near it because the flocks were watered from that well. The stone over the mouth of the well was large.  When all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone away from the well’s mouth and water the sheep. Then they would return the stone to its place over the mouth of the well.  Jacob asked the shepherds, “My brothers, where are you from?” “We’re from Harran,” they replied.  He said to them, “Do you know Laban, Nahor’s grandson?” “Yes, we know him,” they answered.  Then Jacob asked them, “Is he well?” “Yes, he is,” they said, “and here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep.”  “Look,” he said, “the sun is still high; it is not time for the flocks to be gathered. Water the sheep and take them back to pasture.”  “We can’t,” they replied, “until all the flocks are gathered and the stone has been rolled away from the mouth of the well. Then we will water the sheep.”  While he was still talking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherd.  When Jacob saw Rachel daughter of his uncle Laban, and Laban’s sheep, he went over and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered his uncle’s sheep.  Then Jacob kissed Rachel and began to weep aloud.  He had told Rachel that he was a relative of her father and a son of Rebekah. So she ran and told her father.  As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister’s son, he hurried to meet him. He embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his home, and there Jacob told him all these things.  Then Laban said to him, “You are my own flesh and blood.” After Jacob had stayed with him for a whole month, Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat encouragements did Jacob experience here?
Jacob has nearly reached his destination. Commissioned to find a wife, he nears his uncle’s home and encounters a group of shepherds. Eventually Rachel appears on the scene and emotionally Jacob reveals his identity. So many words, so many conversations and it could all have so easily been stage-managed. His manipulative mother sent him away to escape his brother’s murderous clutches. An arranged marriage seemed the ideal solution. Yet this story reveals raw emotion. Jacob kisses his future wife and weeps aloud. His uncle proclaims their visceral connection. This story is a condensed version of Jacob’s life: collusion and murky relationships against the backdrop of God’s loving purposes. This pattern will play out time after time in this complex man’s life. God’s grace in our lives looks much the same. He has no illusions about our goodness, but has committed himself to loving us and forming Jesus’ image in us. “You know when I sit down and when I get up. You know my thoughts before I think them. You know where I go and where I lie down. You know everything I do” (Psa. 139:2,3 NCV). God is with us and working out his good, encouraging will and purpose for us.
Share honestly with God the sometimes messiness of your motives. There’s mercy as you confess your sin (1 John 1:9).
Merciful Lord, how thankful I am for Your amazing, constant grace. Keep working Your good will in me, I pray.
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