History Repeats Itself…
Mighty, loving God, today as I read and study Your Word, infiltrate my whole being with Your wisdom and grace.
Read Genesis 29:1-14
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.
“Obeying the Spirit instead of your own self-centered whims will lead you to places you have never been, challenge you in ways you have never been challenged …” (Bill Hybels).
Jacob has a two-fold purpose in journeying to his mother’s relatives. His mother tells him he should go to escape the retribution his brother Esau wants to visit on him (Gen. 27:42-45), and she persuades his father to send him there to find a wife who won’t be a Hittite (Gen. 26:34,35; 27:46). In some ways, this pattern of behavior echoes that of the past generation. Abraham didn’t want Isaac to marry a local girl, but one of his relatives; here Jacob is also to look for a spouse from among his own kindred. However, while Abraham sent his chief servant to act as a go-between, Jacob is sent himself in order to be taken, conveniently, out of harm’s way.
There are other echoes of the past: meeting at a well, watering flocks or herds, the right girl coming at the right moment, the realization of being among relatives. Jacob creates a good impression, as he rolls away the stone from over the well, introduces himself as a relative and greets Rachel with a cousinly kiss; perhaps the tears indicate that he is overwhelmed to have arrived at this place–or perhaps he’s overwhelmed by her beauty and falls head over heels! News of Jacob’s arrival is met with welcome and affection from his uncle. A major difference is that what’s missing from this account is God. While the earlier occasion was full of God, this one, at least from the perspective of the narrator, is not.
The parallels in these stories, and the similarities and differences, deserve close attention. They have important things to say about the purpose of telling the story. The parallels also extend to the individuals here and the history of Israel; and the repetition of seeking a bride resonates with our Christian understanding.
Looking back through your own life, reflect on any lessons which you have had to learn on more than one occasion. How have they helped you?
Father, I constantly need the gift of discernment to distinguish between my whims and Your leading. Today I want to live a full-throttle faith, fueled solely by You.
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