Out of Control
Lord, there is so much waiting in life, so much unfulfilled. I wait now before You in anticipation and hope.
Read Genesis 29:14-30
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.
Recall a situation where you were at the mercy of someone else’s decisions or actions. Reflect on the feelings that arise in you.
The irony in the story of Jacob’s courtship and marriages is hard to miss. As someone who has tricked what he wants out of others, Jacob is now on the receiving end of Laban’s deception, which is neatly summed up in six words: “When morning came, there was Leah!” (25). The Hebrew words used for Jacob’s earlier deception and Laban’s have the same root, but the tables are turned. As with many Bible stories, the account says very little about how the participants felt about what happened, or how the deception was accomplished. Seven years’ work; a couple in love; the day arrives; the wrong daughter for a bride. Anger, bitterness, hatred, jealousy must all have been in the mix of emotions surrounding them. So how was Rachel withheld from Jacob? Was force involved? Even though Leah would probably have worn a veil, how did Jacob not notice she wasn’t the girl he’d worked for? Laban excuses himself with reference to custom and with the promise of Rachel in a week’s time, but the eventual rift between them begins here.
While there is some similarity to the marriage practices of the time, there are also differences. It was normal for the parents to arrange marriage for their children; they may have been consulted, but it was more important that the parents agreed it should take place. Financial consideration was also important: the groom’s family would pay a bride price, and the bride would receive a dowry to bring to her husband. In this case, however, Jacob and Rachel fall in love and Jacob’s parents, while agreeing he should find a wife from among relatives, are not there to arrange or negotiate anything. Thus, while Jacob eventually pays the bride price with fourteen years of work, he has to create Rachel’s and Leah’s dowries himself.
What was your response to the situation you recalled above? Ask God for grace and wisdom to live faithfully in such challenging times.
Father, deep down I know it is uncomfortable for me to be at the mercy of someone else. In those times, help me to trust in Your leading and care.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.