Go to Facebook
or Tweet @strangework
to interact. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
it came to pass, when Isaac was old
and his eyes were so dim that he could not see, that he called Esau
his older son and said to him, 'My son.' And he answered him, 'Here I
am.' Then he said, 'Behold now, I am old. I do not know the day of my
death. Now therefore, please take your weapons, your quiver and your
bow, and go out to the field and hunt
game for me. And make me savory food, such as I love, and bring
it to me that I may eat, that my soul
may bless you before I die.'
As previously noted, Isaac loved Esau,
but Rebekah loved
(25:28). That being the case, Isaac was determined to give the blessing
to Esau and it probably didn’t cross his mind that the Lord had said … the elder shall serve
the younger (25:23).
So, Isaac set things in motion to bestow his blessing on Esau. An
important principle comes to mind here, and that is … Nothing good ever comes from operating in
Instead of being led by his preference for Esau (and possibly, in
addition, thinking about his stomach), Isaac would have done well to
talk to God about Esau's receiving his blessing. It was an important
decision and deserved to be bathed in prayer. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to
Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt game and to
bring it. So Rebekah spoke to Jacob her
son, saying, 'Indeed I heard your father speak to Esau your brother,
saying, "Bring me game and make savory food for me, that I may eat it
and bless you in the presence of the LORD before my death." Now
therefore, my son, obey my voice according to what I command you. Go
now to the flock and bring me from there two choice kids of the goats,
and I will make savory food from them for your father, such as he
loves. Then you shall take it to your father, that he may eat it, and
that he may bless you before his death. And Jacob said to
Rebekah his mother, 'Look, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a
smooth-skinned man. Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to
be a deceiver to him; and I shall bring a curse on myself and not a
blessing.' But his mother said to him, 'Let your curse be on me, my
son; only obey my voice, and go, get them for me.'
When Rebekah overheard
Isaac's conversation with Esau, she immediately came up with a scheme ... a scheme, based on fraud and deceit, in order to get the blessing for Jacob.
Then, she frantically set her plan into motion. It would
result in far-reaching and unforeseen consequences, however, and would
bring division and great grief to the Isaac family. Such are the bitter
fruits of operating in the flesh rather than walking in the Spirit.
Ever been there? Things didn't work out, did they? We've all walked
down those lonely, useless, dead-end paths of doing things our way …
apart from our God … have we not? Jesus’ words from John 15, come to my
the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him,
bears much fruit; for without Me you
can do nothing. John 15:5 _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
he went and got them and brought them to his mother, and his mother
made savory food, such as his father loved. Then
Rebekah took the choice clothes of her elder son Esau, which were with
her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. And she put
the skins of the kids of the goats on his hands and on the smooth part
of his neck. Then she gave the savory food and the bread, which
she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob. So he went to his
father and said, 'My father.' And he said, 'Here I am. Who are you, my son?' Jacob said to
his father, 'I am Esau your firstborn;
I have done just as you told me; please arise, sit and eat of my game,
that your soul may bless me.' But Isaac said to his son, 'How is it that you have found it so quickly,
my son?' And he said, 'Because the LORD your God brought it to me.'
Then Isaac said to Jacob, 'Please come
near, that I may feel you, my son, whether you are reallymy son Esau or not.'
So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, and he felt him and said, 'The
voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.' And he
did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother
Esau's hands;so he blessed him. Then he said, ' Are you really my son Esau?' He
said, 'I am.'
He said, 'Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son's game, so that
my soul may bless you.' So he brought it near to him, and he ate; and
he brought him wine, and he drank. Then his father Isaac said to him, 'Come near now and kiss me, my son.'
And he came near and kissed him; and he
smelled the smell of his clothing, and blessed him and said:
'Surely, the smell of my son Is like the smell of a field which the
LORD has blessed. Therefore
may God give you of the dew of heaven, of the fatness of the earth, and
plenty of grain and wine. Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down
to you. Be master over your brethren, and let your mother's sons bow
down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be those
who bless you!'
At first blush,
Rebekah’s plan really sounds far-fetched. However, we need to keep in
mind that Isaac was very old and, unfortunately, elderly people are notoriously easy to deceive and
bilk. Once, during my ministry, a very elderly woman in our church (in
her late nineties), announced that she was getting married. Her
"fiancee", as it turned out, was a middle-aged and notorious con-artist in our community.
Nothing could dissuade her, however. She went ahead with the marriage,
and subsequently, lost everything that she owned … including her new
and very expensive home. Only through the courts were her children able
to recover some of the losses. I believe this is why Jacob and Rebekah
so easily took advantage of Isaac. Jacob even brought the Lord into it
when he spoke to his father. What a pious fraud he was.
Perhaps Isaac erred in not giving the blessing to Jacob in the first
place, but Jacob definitely erred in stealing it from his aged father
through deception. Had everyone concerned acted with integrity, God
would have doubtless worked it all out in the right way and saw to it
Jacob received the blessing, fulfilling his Word. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
it happened, as soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and Jacob
had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau
his brother came in from his hunting. He also had made savory food, and
brought it to his father, and said to his father, 'Let my father arise and eat of his son's
game, that your soul may bless me.' And his father Isaac said to
him, 'Who are you?' So he said, 'I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.'
Then Isaac trembled exceedingly, and
said, 'Who? Where is the one who hunted game and brought it to
me? I ate all of it before you came,
and I have blessed him; and indeed he shall be blessed.'
When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with an exceedingly
great and bitter cry, and said to his father, 'Bless me; me also, O my
father!' But he said, 'Your brother came with deceit and has taken away
your blessing.' And Esau said, 'Is he
not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times.
He took away my birthright,
and now look, he has taken away my blessing!'
And he said, 'Have you not reserved a blessing for me?' Then Isaac
answered and said to Esau, 'Indeed I
have made him your master, and all his brethren I have given to him as
servants; with grain and wine I have sustained him.
What shall I do now for you, my son?' And Esau said to his father,
'Have you only one blessing, my father? Bless me; me also, O my
father!' And Esau lifted up his voice
and wept. Then Isaac his father answered and said to him: 'Behold,
your dwelling shall be of the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of
heaven from above. By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve
your brother; and it shall come to pass, when you become restless, that
you shall break his yoke from your neck.'
When Esau learned that
Jacob had stolen the blessing, he cried, Is
he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times.
He took away my birthright, and now look, he has taken away my blessing!
I bet you could have heard Esau for a mile! Actually, Jacob had not supplanted
Esau in the matter of his birthright. Esau had disposed of his birthright, himself, when he
sold it to Jacob ... fair and square. However, Jacob certainly did steal Esau's
blessing! Remember, Jacob's
supplanter or underminer.
By his deception and theft of Esau's blessing, he was really living up
to his name. Before we step on Jacob too hard though, I think it would be good for us to remember that all we humans are a crafty and sneaky lot, are we not? We have all
had occasions when we went to any lengths to get our own way and to
secure what we wanted ... regardless of the consequences. The Bible
heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can
know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give
every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.
I certainly am glad
that our God is merciful and gracious to us sinners. How about you?
He forgives us for our self-centered, conniving, greedy and unloving
trespasses, and is ready, willing and able to transform us into people
of true character and righteousness. He even helps us to patch up the
effects of our past transgressions. This would be the case with Jacob,
as well. But for now, Jacob had really gone and done it. He would be
paying for his theft and deceit for decades to come. Sometimes, people just go
too far. And, that's exactly what Jacob and his mother had done.
Esau was furious.
First, he had sold his birthright ... which would have given him a
double portion of the inheritance … and now he had lost his blessing
... which would have put him in charge as head of the household. When they heard Esau’s exceedingly great and bitter cry
(remember, they lived in tents), it must have sent shivers down their
spines and sobered them to the soles of their sandals. In addition, no doubt they had overheard Isaac's prophecy and blessing on
Esau ... which could not have produced anything short of fear and foreboding.
Isaac's words … By your sword shall you live … had to have echoed over and over again in Rebekah and Jacob's minds. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
So Esau hated Jacob because of the
blessing with which his father blessed him, and Esau said in his heart,
'The days of mourning for my father
are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob.'
And the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah. So she sent
and called Jacob her younger son, and said to him, 'Surely your brother
Esau comforts himself concerning you by intending to kill you. Now
therefore, my son, obey my voice: arise, flee to my brother Laban in Haran.
And stay with him a few days, until your brother's fury turns away,
until your brother's anger turns away from you, and he forgets what you
have done to him; then I will send and bring you from there. Why should
I be bereaved also of you both in one day?'
Now, this is real trouble, brother. Proverbs 18:19, says,
A brother offended is
harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the
bars of a castle.
The Isaac family now had a full blown crisis on their hands. There are
a lot of different kinds of trouble in the world. There are financial
problems, relative problems, health problems, business problems, work
problems and church problems. The list goes on and on, but of all the
troubles in this whole wide world, nothing compares to family trouble. A very wealthy and
successful businessman and uncle of mine used to say, You don't know what trouble is until you
have family trouble. How true. Now, in the Isaac family, one son
was so filled with hatred for
the other that he was literally plotting to kill his
brother. And, believe you me, he meant business. Like Cain before him,
Esau was so angry that he was planning to murder Jacob as soon as his
passed away. When Rebekah got wind of it, she immediately sent
Jacob away to her brother in Haran for … a few days ...
she thought, until Esau cooled off. Those few days, however,
turned into 20 years and Rebekah never lived to see her “favorite”,
Jacob, again. Getting, through fleshly means, never really works out.
It always blows up in one’s face.
And Rebekah said to Isaac,
'I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth; if Jacob takes
a wife of the daughters of Heth, like these who are the daughters of
the land, what good will my life be to me?' Then
Isaac called Jacob and blessed him, and charged him, and said to him:
'You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to
Padan Aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother's father; and take
yourself a wife from there of the daughters of Laban your mother's
brother.May God Almighty
you, and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may be an
assembly of peoples; And give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and
your descendants with you, that you may inherit the land in which you
are a stranger, which God gave to Abraham.' So Isaac sent Jacob
away, and he went to Padan Aram, to Laban the son of Bethuel the
Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.
You can't help but
admire Isaac here. In spite of his great age, and having discovered
Rebekah and Jacob’s deception … and finding himself in the midst of
his family breaking up, he still managed to keep his head and his
spiritual perspective. Unwittingly, he had given Jacob the blessing, but now he
blesses him openly, having great compassion on his wayward and
deceptive son. That is grace, maturity and a good heart, brother. We
parents need to consistently operate on that level with our kids. No
grudges ... no revenge ... just grace and blessing toward each and
every one of them. My, how many Christian homes and children would be
transformed if this were the case with parents.
So, Isaac passed on the promise of Abraham to Jacob for his
... obviously realizing that God had chosen Jacob. As we have it in Romans 9:10-13,
not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by
our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done
any good or evil, that the
purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of
Him who calls), it was said to her, 'The
older shall serve the younger.' As it is written, 'Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.'
One more thought,
before we leave these verses. It is an axiomatic truth that what we
sow, we will also reap. People are paid back in their own coin. Jacob
was thrust out and was now on his way to live with his Uncle Laban
in Haran. And, he was in for an education. He would soon learn that,
like him, his Uncle Laban was a master of deceit and craftiness. What goes around comes around, they
say. How true this was going to prove for Jacob.
saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Padan Aram to
take himself a wife from there, and that as he blessed him he gave him
a charge, saying, 'You shall not take a wife from the daughters of
Canaan,' and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and had
gone to Padan Aram. Also Esau saw
that the daughters of Canaan did not please his father Isaac. So Esau went to Ishmael and took Mahalath
the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be
his wife in addition to the
wives he had.
It appears that Esau
decided that he might gain his parent’s approval if he acquired a third
wife who would be more acceptable to Isaac and Rebekah. So, having seen
how upset they were about the two Canaanite wives he had brought home,
went out and took a third wife
from a relative, namely one of Ishmael's
daughters. I guess he just didn't get it. Isaac and Rebekah desired
godly wives for their sons,
not just relative wives for their sons.
Oh well, that's the blind decision making of the flesh, led by the
oblivious mindset of a carnal person. This incident is just another insight into the character of
Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and
went toward Haran. So he came to a
certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had
set. And he took one of the stones of
that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to
sleep. Then he
dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top
reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and
descending on it. And behold, the LORD stood above it and said: 'I am
the LORD God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on
which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your
descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad
to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in
your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.Behold,
I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you
back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I
have spoken to you.' Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said,
'Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.' And he was
afraid and said, 'How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God,
then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had
put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it.
And he called the name of that place Bethel;
but the name of that city had been Luz previously.
is about 40 miles from Beersheba, where Jacob had begun his journey.
Due to his fear of Esau, he didn't stop until his second day out. I
suspect that, when he finally paused to rest, he was so exhausted that
he could have slept sitting up. He had gotten the blessing alright, but
now, he was as poor as a church mouse and had to sleep with a rock for
a pillow! In the midst of this, however, he received a vision from God.
He was chosen, you see. It was through him that the promised Seed would come and all the other promises of the Abrahamic Covenant would be passed down. So, that night, Jacob received the famous, Jacob's Ladder
vision. You might recall that Jesus told Nathaniel that he, too, would
one day see what Jacob saw, by the way. As you have it in John 1:51,
He said to him, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see
heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the
Son of Man.'
In a deep sleep, Jacob
was the first to see this amazing reality of the spirit world,
namely ... angels ascending and descending from the throne of God. Then,
God spoke to him. He spoke about the Abrahamic Covenant and what
Jacob's role would be in it. My, what promises God gave Jacob that
night. Direct from God on his throne, four unconditional blessings were
given to him. God said:
land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.
descendants will be as the dust (numerous)of
your seed (Jesus), all
the families of the earth shall be blessed.
am with you and will keep you wherever you go and will bring you back
to this land.
When Jacob awoke, he
should have been blessed out of his socks but, instead, he was
terrified. He had never experienced anything like this before. Nor, had
he ever been directly spoken to by God before. He said, How dreadful is this
he hurried about to make an offering and worship. He didn't have much
to offer, so he poured some oil on the rock that he had been using for
his pillow. It was his small offering to
the Lord. I'm sure it was
incredibly sweet to the Lord, however, who always looks upon the heart and not
at the gift. This was the beginning of a
real relationship between Jacob and the true and living God.
There was a little
town nearby called Luz
... which means almond tree.
Jacob changed its name to Bethel … which
means house of God.
In the years to follow, and in the annals of scripture, it would become
a famous place. Doubtless, this encounter was a mega encouragement to
Jacob who had brought so much grief and trouble upon himself. Jacob,
flawed though he was, had received great and wonderful promises from
his God. And, although comprehensive in scope, the promises Jacob
received that night included him in a very personal way. The promises
of God are like that. Have you not found them to be so? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Jacob made a vow, saying, 'If God will
be with me,
and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and
clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father's house in peace,
then the LORD shall be my God.
And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God's house, and
of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.'
What was Jacob’s
response to all of this? Well, he attempted to bargain with God.
He sounded like he was on that game show, Let's Make a Deal.
Jacob was a true babe at this point in his experience with God. He had
a lot to learn. Obviously, he doubted God's word, as given in his
dream. What a fatal weakness this is for any saint of the living God,
aye? Unbelief is the greatest hindrance of all to our walk with God.
Jacob thought he could buy God's favor! How infantile. Before we get on
Jacob's case too hard though, maybe we should ask ourselves … What do I offer God to pay for his favor and blessings?
Nothing, I hope. Like Jacob, that would be a glaring sign of our
spiritual immaturity. I never cease to be amazed at God's longsuffering
with his people, aren’t you? We can't offer anything to God to secure
his favor and blessings. We can't pay God back for his goodness or his
great salvation … or buy his favor ... not even with our tithes (sic) …
contrary to the popular opinion of many. God is just plain good to us because that is the way he is, beloved. Accept it and bask in it.
One time my son Dave called me from El Paso, Texas, just to tell me
about a blessing he received from God in selling an item on Ebay. He
said … Dad, God blesses us just because he wants to bless us! I said … Amen, son. He certainly does. God is good! Believe it, brother. You and I can take it to the bank. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Jacob went on his journey and came to the land of the people of the
East. And he looked, and saw a well in the field; and behold, there
were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they
watered the flocks. A large stone was on the well's mouth. Now all the
flocks would be gathered there; and they would roll the stone from the
well's mouth, water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place on
the well's mouth. And Jacob said to them, 'My brethren, where are you
from?' And they said, 'We are from Haran.'
Then he said to them, 'Do you know Laban
the son of Nahor?' And they said, 'We know him.' So he said to
them, 'Is he well?' And they said, 'He is well. And look, his daughter Rachel is coming
with the sheep.' Then
he said, 'Look, it is still high day; it is not time for the cattle to
be gathered together. Water the sheep, and go and feed them.' But they
said, 'We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together, and they
have rolled the stone from the well's mouth; then we water the sheep.
Now while he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep,
for she was a shepherdess.
And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his
mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that
Jacob went near and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered
the flock of Laban his mother's brother.'
Ever notice how many coincidences
there are in the lives of the people of God? Have you seen it in your
own life? God is at work, isn't he?! Some years ago, while working as a
lab courier for Providence Health
I had just finished all my pickups and was driving back to the
to turn in all the blood specimens ... I had regular stops
as well as radio dispatched stops ... when, all of a sudden, the overwhelming impression came over me to go to Sellwood Medical.
That was one of our customers who, when they had something to be
picked up, would call it in and then dispatch would call me to
go and pick it up. Well, dispatch had not called so I ignored
the impression and kept on driving. But, it came again and again ...
each time … more and more persistent … Go to Sellwood Medical.
Finally, I heeded the persistent impression and broke off from
returning to the hospital and cut across country to their clinic. They
were closed when I got there ... so I opened their lockbox with my key and
there were a whole stack of specimens for our lab. They had forgotten to
call them in. By morning, they would have been ruined. Did one of
those specimens belong to one of God's children and was critical to their
health? Or, was God simply leading me ... his child? I don't know. I know this
though … looking back over my life I can clearly see that God has led
me ... sometimes, very specifically. He leads his own. As you have it
in Romans 8:14,
as many as are lead by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
God is all in with each and every one of his children. Sometimes it is in obvious
ways, such as my “Sellwood” experience. Often it is in ways that,
perhaps, you or I do not even recognize. But, this much is
leadeth me, O blessed thought! O
words with heavenly comfort fraught! Whate'er
I do, where-e'er I be, Still
'tis God's hand that leadeth me. He
leadeth me, He leadeth me, By
his own hand He leadeth me! His
faithful follower I would be, for
by His hand He leadeth me.
God was leading Jacob.
His word at Bethel would now begin to be worked out in Jacob's life in
shoe leather. He promised Jacob,
I am with you
and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this
land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to
you. Gen. 28:15
Coming back to our
text, notice how similar this event was to what Abraham's servant had
experienced when Rebekah (Jacob’s
mother), had also "just showed up" at this same well … and both
from the same household (24:15)! Do you think that God does not lead
his people? He surely does, doesn't he? As you have it in Psalm 32:8,
will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide
you with My eye. The next verse in that
Psalm is also well worth noting in this regard. It says,
not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding,
Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come
God not only leads his
people, but he wants them to know
that he leads them. This brings a whole new level of fellowship with
God into a
believer's life. Some years ago, my wife and I drove to Chicago to
visit our son, Jonathan, who was attending Wheaton College. We came
into Chicago from the direction of Wisconsin and, when we got inside
the city, I called
Jonathan on my cell phone to let him know we had arrived. He answered, Where are you, dad?
I looked over at the street signs at the intersection where we were
stopped at a red light and told him we were at the corner of such and
such. There was a moment of silence, then he said, Pull over, I'm just two blocks away!
A couple of minutes later we were hugging. Ever been to Chicago? It's
huge. Go figure!
Now, coming back to
the text, we have here one of the Bible's great love stories in the
making. Do you believe in love at first sight? Apparently, Jacob did.
He fell head over heels for this girl, Rachel,
when he first laid eyes on her there at the well. Once he saw and
kissed her, he was a goner. End of story. Although Jacob was fleeing
from the wrath of his brother ... in reality, he had been sent to Haran
to find his soul-mate. This would result in the second and third brides
to come out of Laban's household. But, I'm getting ahead of
Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his
voice and wept.
And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's relative and that he was
Rebekah's son. So she ran and told her father. Then it came to pass,
when Laban heard the report about Jacob his sister's son, that he ran
to meet him, and embraced him and kissed him, and brought him to his
house. So he told Laban all these things. And Laban said to him,
'Surely you are my bone and my flesh.' And he stayed with him for a
month. Then Laban said to Jacob, 'Because you are my relative, should
you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what should your wages be?
Granted, it was no
romantic kiss. It was just that oriental custom that we still see today
between people who greet one another in that culture. In Paul's
admonition to the Romans, he speaks of it too, saying,
one another with a holy kiss. Rom. 16:16a
After the traditional
kiss of greeting, what happened next must have shocked Rachel. How
strange it must have seemed when, after greeting her, this young relative lifted up his voice and
wept! She must have asked herself, Is there something wrong with this fellow?
Jacob's emotions had overcome him. No doubt, the entire situation had
left them raw to begin with. The all too familiar fact that his
own mother was found at this exact
place in Haran and at this same well must have just swept over him. It was a story he had heard
again and again from childhood. And,
the similarity of it to his own present encounter there was
Although everything else had gone bad for him, still God was looking
out for Jacob and was leading him … just as he said that he would ...
just as he had led his father and mother before him. By God's hand, he
had arrived safely at Laban's town. And, I think Jacob sensed that this
girl would become his wife. There was nothing for it then, but to weep.
Have you ever felt like that … after plodding away so long ... through
valleys of trial and tribulation … then suddenly, you discover that God
has been walking beside you and directing you all the way? Sometimes,
it’s just overwhelming. Shortly after, Jacob went to work for his Uncle
Now Laban had two daughters: the name of
the elder was Leah, and the
name of the younger was Rachel.Leah's eyes were delicate, but Rachel
was beautiful of form and appearance.
Now Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, 'I will serve you seven years for
Rachel your younger daughter.' And Laban said, 'It is better that I
give her to you than that I should give her to another man. Stay with
me.' So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few
days to him because of the love he had for her. Then Jacob said to
Laban, 'Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in to
her.' And Laban gathered together all the men of the place and made a
feast. Now it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter and brought her
to Jacob; and he went in to her. And Laban gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah as a
maid. So it came to pass in the
morning, that behold, it was Leah.
And he said to Laban, 'What is this you have done to me? Was it not for
Rachel that I served you? Why then have you deceived me?' And Laban
said, 'It must not be done so in our country, to give the younger
before the firstborn. Fulfill her week, and we will give you this one
also for the service which you will serve with me still another seven
years.' Then Jacob did so and fulfilled her week. So he gave him his daughter Rachel as wife also.
And Laban gave his maid Bilhah
to his daughter Rachel as a maid. Then Jacob also went in to Rachel,
and he also loved Rachel more than
Leah. And he served with Laban still another seven years.
When it says here that
Leah's eyes were
delicate, well … that’s putting it delicately. The King James
says tender eyed.
Actually the Hebrew word means weak
To put it bluntly, Leah was cross-eyed, hardly a mark of beauty in any
culture. This statement contrasts Leah with Rachel who, it says, was
beautiful of form and appearance. These two sisters compared to
other like the ugly duckling and the swan. And, as our texts states,
Jacob loved Rachel
more than Leah.
The plot thickened.
Jacob, the trickster, had met his match in his Uncle Laban. Laban had
two daughters and he badly needed to marry off the older, ugly one. So,
he set about to trick Jacob into marrying her. And, in the end, the
conniver, Jacob, got out-connived. There really is something to that
old adage … What goes around comes around.
As unlikely as this may seem in our culture, in that culture it was not
only quite possible to palm off the wrong bride but, Laban actually
pulled it off. Apparently, brides were heavily veiled throughout the
marriage ceremony and they only revealed themselves, physically, to
their groom when they were alone in their honeymoon chamber. In
addition, I suspect that Laban saw to it that there was a good deal of
celebrating, by way of drinking, at the wedding. Leah, no doubt, even
took it a step further, probably feigning modesty and blowing out the
lamps before getting undressed and getting into bed with Jacob.
Now, I don't know
about you, but I think that one of the funniest lines in Scripture is
found right here where it says … it came to pass in the
morning, that behold, it was Leah.
BEHOLD indeed. At first light, Jacob found he was not staring into the
lovely eyes of Rachel at all … but into the crossed eyes of Leah! I
chuckle even as I write this. Brother, that must have been the … behold
… of all beholds. Now, don’t mistake me. I'm not making fun of Leah. As
it turns out, of the two sisters, she was the one who possessed the
true beauty. Her beauty was inward you see and far outshined that of
Rachel. These two sisters were opposites in beauty. And, I suspect
they were opposites on the inside as well. Make no mistake about it,
when Jacob got
Leah for his wife, he got a
prize indeed. And Leah,
being his first wife, was the woman that God had planned for Jacob all
along. Leah, not Rachel, would be the one who would one day be buried beside
Jacob in the cave
of Machpelah, where Abraham and Sarah were laid
confronted Laban about his blatant deception and they struck a deal for
Rachel to become Jacob's second wife, as soon as Leah's week
of honeymoon was over. But, Jacob had to agree to work an additional 7
years to pay for her. Actually, this was how Laban had pictured it all
along. He would get top dollar for Leah then,
immediately afterward, he would give Rachel to Jacob, getting top
dollar for her as well. Keep in mind that, in oriental cultures, brides
are purchased and, the more desirable the bride, the higher the price
she brings. This custom prevails even down to our day. I recall, back
in July of ‘05, former President Bill Clinton received an offer from an
African official saying that he would pay 40 goats and 20 sheep for his
daughter, Chelsea. I don't suspect Chelsea was amused, but everyone
else was. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Jacob did so and fulfilled her week. So he gave him his daughter Rachel
as wife also. And Laban gave his maid Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as
a maid. Then Jacob also went in to Rachel, and he also loved Rachel
more than Leah. And he served with Laban still another seven years.
Now, may I say ... God
never intended for a man to have more than one wife. We clearly saw
this in the “one man, one woman” creation account back in the second
chapter of Genesis. Jesus also taught that marriage was a monogamous
relationship, as does the whole of the New Testament. However, polygamy
was and is practiced in many cultures and the Bible simply records the
past history of it. Invariably, however, polygamy always causes trouble. We
see it here at the very beginning of Jacob's marriages to these two sisters.
When we read … he
also loved Rachel more than Leah …
you can take it to the bank that things were not going to be going well
in the Jacob household. From the start, this home was in for some very
rough sailing. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, He
opened her womb; but Rachel
was barren. So Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his
for she said, 'The LORD has surely looked on my affliction. Now
therefore, my husband will love me.' Then she conceived again and bore
a son, and said, 'Because the LORD has heard that I am unloved, He has
therefore given me this son also.' And she called his name Simeon.
She conceived again and bore a son, and said, 'Now this time my husband
will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.'
Therefore his name was called Levi.
And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, 'Now I will praise
the LORD.' Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she stopped bearing.
My, what a great heart
of compassion and justice our God has. When he saw that Leah was
unloved, he was immediately moved to give her children to make up for
it. I love it! It isn't unusual for God to step in and “even the
by the way. That was the basic principle behind Jesus' words,
concerning the future day of rewards, when he said,
many who are first will be last, and the last first. Matthew 19:30
You can't help but
feel bad for Leah though. My, how she longed to capture Jacob's heart.
Jacob had finished working off his debt for Rachel, Leah had presented
him with four strapping baby boys. And, with each subsequent birth,
Leah was hoping that their new son would cause Jacob to love her.
But, sadly, that was not to be. Notice, however, she no longer had that
expectation with the fourth one. When little Judah came along, she
simply said ... Now
I will praise the Lord.
How appropriate, and how prophetic. Messiah would come through Leah's
boy, Judah, you see. Blessed is, and was, mother Leah, indeed! _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her
sister, and said to Jacob, 'Give me
children, or else I die!' And Jacob's anger was aroused against
Rachel, and he said, 'Am I in the
place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?'
So she said, 'Here is my maid Bilhah;
go in to her, and she will bear a child on my knees,
that I also may have children by her.' Then she gave him Bilhah her
maid as wife, and Jacob went in to her. And Bilhah conceived and bore
Jacob a son. Then Rachel said, 'God has judged my case; and He has also
heard my voice and given me a son.' Therefore she called his name Dan.
And Rachel's maid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son.
Then Rachel said, 'With great wrestlings I have wrestled with my
sister, and indeed I have prevailed.' So she called his name Naphtali.
Once again, we find
that custom among the ancients here, whereby a servant, belonging to a
certain wife, could be given to her husband as a servant-wife (concubine)
and the offspring of that union could be counted as the offspring of
the wife that owned her. You will remember that this was the custom
that Sarah followed when she gave Hagar to Abraham in order to have
Ishmael (Gen. 16). However, this practice merely added to the
conflict that polygamy had already brought to Jacob's home. Several
wives, all vying for one husband's affections, was bad news.
These two sisters’ jealousy of each other was exacerbated by the fact
that Leah now had four sons but Rachel had none. In pain and anguish of
spirit, Rachel struck out at Jacob accusing him for her barrenness. A
verbal fight ensued. Then Rachel, realizing the flimsy nature of her
accusation, decided to take matters into her own hands and gave her
to Jacob so that she could acquire children through her maid. She
thought this would solve her problem, but in reality, it made their
home even more complicated and stressed because there were now
three wives vying for Jacob's time and affections. Nevertheless, two
more heads of the tribes of Israel … Dan and Naphtali… were born and Rachel now had two surrogate sons. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Leah saw that she had stopped bearing, she took Zilpah
her maid and gave her to Jacob as wife. And Leah's maid Zilpah bore
Jacob a son. Then Leah said, 'A troop comes!' So she called his name Gad.
And Leah's maid Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. Then Leah said, 'I am
happy, for the daughters will call me blessed.' So she called his name Asher.
Not to be outdone,
Leah said, Two can play that game!
So, she gave her maid, Zilpah, to Jacob for his fourth wife. And, as a
were born. There were now six boys in Leah's column ... and two in
Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest and found mandrakes
in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to
Leah, 'Please give me some of your son's mandrakes.' But she said to
her, 'Is it a small matter that you
have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son's mandrakes also?'
And Rachel said, 'Therefore he will lie with you tonight for your son's
mandrakes.' When Jacob came out of the field in the evening, Leah went
out to meet him and said, 'You must come in to me, for I have surely
hired you with my son's mandrakes.' And he lay with her that night. And
God listened to Leah, and she
conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. Leah said, 'God has given me my
wages, because I have given my maid to my husband.' So she called his
name Issachar. Then Leah
conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son. And Leah said, 'God has
endowed me with a good endowment; now my husband will dwell with me,
because I have borne him six sons.' So she called his name Zebulun. Afterward she bore a
daughter, and called her name Dinah.
parents draw their children into their quarrels, isn't it? Reuben,
being fully aware of his mother's competition with Rachel, found some
mandrakes in the field and promptly brought them home to his mother, Leah.
Mandrakes (love-apples) were thought to be an aphrodisiac in those
days. They are mentioned in the context of lovemaking in the Song of
us get up early to the vineyards; Let us see if the vine has budded,
whether the grape blossoms are open, and the pomegranates are in bloom.
There I will give you my love. The mandrakes
give off a fragrance, and at our gates are pleasant fruits, all manner,
new and old, which I have laid up for you, my beloved. Song of Solomon
Rachel heard about the
mandrakes that Reuben had found and she was determined to get them for
herself. This is beginning to sound like an episode of the Jerry
Springer show, is it not?! Notice how bitter Leah was toward Rachel.
She said … You
have stolen my husband and you want my mandrakes also?
Nevertheless, Rachel continued to bargain for the mandrakes and finally
cut a deal with Leah. If she could have the mandrakes, she would tell
Jacob to go to Leah's bed that night. Apparently, Jacob normally slept
with Rachel. A bargain was struck and, as a result, Leah became
pregnant again and gave birth to a fifth son, Issachar. And
again, she gave the Lord the glory. This baby was an answer to prayer.
As we read above … And
God listened to Leah.
Up to this point,
Rachel just doesn't seem to be very much with it, when it came to the things of the
Lord. Have you noticed that? But, she was growing, as we will shortly
see. Then, Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to her sixth son, Zebulun.
This caused her to both give glory to God and to renew her hope that,
as the mother of eight of Jacob's sons, he would at long last love her.
Unfortunately, that still was not to be … for now. I say, "for now",
because when we come to chapter 35, and the death of Rachel … after Jacob
had lost the great love of his life … I believe that the love that Leah
had longed for for so long, was finally realized. I
will comment on this further when we get to chapter 35.
Once again, Leah
became pregnant, and Jacob's only daughter, Dinah, was born.
The score was now Leah 9 ... Rachel 2. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Then God remembered Rachel, and God
listened to her and opened her womb. And she conceived and bore
a son, and said, 'God has taken away my reproach.' So she called his
name Joseph, and said, 'The
LORD shall add to me another son.'
Nice going, Rachel!
You called upon the Lord and he heard you. Hallelujah! This is exciting
territory. God hears the cries of his people. The problem is … we so
often fail to seek his face. As James so bluntly puts it, you have not because you ask not
(James 4:2b). Rachel cried unto God and asked him for a child. And, as
a result, she gave birth to one of the greatest saints in all of
recorded history, Joseph! Beloved, do you ask God for things? Jesus said,
say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find;
knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives,
and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that
your joy may be full. John 16:24
The Psalmist said,
the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from
those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11
good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the
Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might
be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. James 1:17-18
it came to pass, when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, 'Send me away,
that I may go to my own place and to my country. Give me my wives and
my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you know my
service which I have done for you.' And Laban said to him, 'Please
stay, if I have found favor in your eyes, for I have learned by
experience that the LORD has blessed me for your sake.' Then he said,
'Name me your wages, and I will give it.' So Jacob said to him, 'You
know how I have served you and how your livestock has been with me. For
what you had before I came was little, and it has increased to a great
amount; the LORD has blessed you since my coming. And now, when shall I
also provide for my own house?' So he said, 'What shall I give you?'
And Jacob said, 'You shall not give me anything. If you will do this
thing for me, I will again feed and keep your flocks: Let me pass
through all your flock today, removing from there all thespeckled and spotted sheep, and all the brown ones among the lambs, and
the spotted and speckled among the
and these shall be my wages. So my righteousness will answer for me in
time to come, when the subject of my wages comes before you: every one
that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the
lambs, will be considered stolen, if it is with me.' And Laban said,
'Oh, that it were according to your word!' So he removed that day the
male goats that were speckled and spotted, all the female goats that
were speckled and spotted, every one that had some white in it, and all
the brown ones among the lambs, and gave them into the hand of his
sons. Then he put three days' journey
between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks.
Now, the blessings of God were on Jacob
and they had been spilling over onto Laban all along. Laban’s
prosperity was clearly linked to Jacob and Jacob’s God and Laban knew it.
Now that Rachel had now been paid for, Jacob was ready to leave, but
Laban wanted him to stay. So, the two agreed that, from that point on,
Jacob would begin to receive wages. Jacob requested that his wages be
paid in the form of livestock. Namely, he wanted all of the variegated
(mixed colored), spotted and speckled
livestock that were among Laban’s flocks. Immediately, Laban agreed,
knowing that such animals were in the minority amongst his herds,
so a deal was struck. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
30:37 - 31:2
took for himself rods of green poplar and of the almond and chestnut
trees, peeled white strips in them, and exposed the white which was in
the rods. And the rods which he had peeled, he set before the
flocks in the gutters, in the watering troughs where the flocks came to
drink, so that they should conceive when they came to drink. So the
flocks conceived before the rods, andthe
flocks brought forth streaked, speckled, and spotted.
Then Jacob separated the lambs, and made the flocks face toward the
streaked and all the brown in the flock of Laban; but he put his own
flocks by themselves and did not put them with Laban's flock. And it
came to pass, whenever the stronger livestock conceived, that Jacob
placed the rods before the eyes of the livestock in the gutters, that
they might conceive among the rods. But when the flocks were feeble, he
did not put them in; so the feebler were Laban's and the stronger
Jacob's. Thus the man became exceedingly prosperous, and had large
flocks, female and male servants, and camels and donkeys. Now Jacob
heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, 'Jacob has taken away all that
was our father's, and from what was our father's he has acquired all
this wealth.' And Jacob saw the
countenance of Laban, and indeed it was not favorable toward him as
Uh oh, was Jacob the conniver back? We’ll have to wait and see. His plan was twofold.
First, he would cause the flocks to mate in front of peeled rods so that they would produce all variegated offspring … which would then belong to him.
Second, as time went on, he would improve on his herd by only allowing Laban's strongest animals to mate before the rods
… insuring that his variegated stock would be the strongest and
healthiest of the lot, and the puny and weak would be left to his
Was this scientific ... you might ask? Not to my knowledge. But,
if you will wait for a few more verses, I think it will become clear
why it actually worked. Jacob had worked for over 14, years for
nothing except Laban's two daughters while Laban himself had become
rich. Now, however, with his "peeled rod" plan, Jacob began to prosper as never before. It
worked so well that we just have to smile when we read … Jacob saw
the countenance of Laban, and indeed it was not favorable toward him as before. Laban, the master conniver, had been outfoxed. Again … what had gone around had come around. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Then the LORD said to Jacob, 'Return to the
land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you.'
So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field, to his flock,
and said to them, 'I see your father's countenance, that it is not
favorable toward me as before; but the God of my father has been with
me. And you know that with all my might I have served your father. Yet
your father has deceived me and changed my wages ten times, but God did
not allow him to hurt me. If he said thus: 'The speckled shall be your
wages,' then all the flocks bore speckled. And if he said thus: 'The
streaked shall be your wages,' then all the flocks bore streaked. So God has taken away the livestock of your
father and given them to me.
And it happened, at the time when the flocks conceived, that I lifted
my eyes and saw in a dream, and behold, the rams which leaped upon the
flocks were streaked, speckled, and gray-spotted. Then the Angel of God spoke
to me in a dream, saying, 'Jacob.' And I said, 'Here I am.' And He
said, 'Lift your eyes now and see, all the rams which leap on the
flocks are streaked, speckled, and gray-spotted; for I have seen all
that Laban is doing to you. I am the
God of Bethel,
where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow to Me. Now
arise, get out of this land, and return to the land of your family.'
Then Rachel and Leah answered and said to him, 'Is there still any
portion or inheritance for us in our father's house? Are we not
considered strangers by him? For he has sold us, and also completely
consumed our money. For all these riches which God has taken from our
father are really ours and our children's; now then, whatever God has
said to you, do it.'
It was now time for Jacob
to go home, so God gave him his marching orders. No doubt, that was
music to Jacob's ears. He would no longer be Laban's servant or
employee. He would be on his own. Immediately, he called for his wives
and gave them the good news. He also told them about the plan that God
had given him in a dream … to ask Laban for all the streaked, speckled and gray-spotted flocks
for his wages. That clears things up considerably, does it not? It was
the Lord that gave crooked Laban's flocks to Jacob, as just recompense
for Jacob's 14, years of hard work. Jacob's wives agreed that this was
just. They knew, all too well, of Laban's greed and how he had used
Jacob. In addition, Jacob's wives pointed out that there was no longer
an inheritance for them in Laban's house, anyway. They said that Laban
had sold them, and then used up the money that he had gotten for them.
So, the whole Jacob household was together on leaving Haran and they
all agreed that the herds they had gotten were from the Lord’s hand and
were rightfully theirs. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Jacob rose and set his sons and his wives on camels. And he carried
away all his livestock and all his possessions which he had gained, his
acquired livestock which he had gained in Padan Aram, to go to his
father Isaac in the land of Canaan. Now Laban had gone to shear his
sheep, and Rachel had stolen the
that were her father's. And Jacob stole away, unknown to Laban the
Syrian, in that he did not tell him that he intended to flee. So he
fled with all that he had. He arose and crossed the river, and headed
toward the mountains of Gilead. And Laban was told on the third day
that Jacob had fled. Then he took his brethren with him and pursued him
for seven days' journey, and he overtook him in the mountains of
Gilead. But God had come to Laban the
Syrian in a dream by night, and said to him, 'Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither
good nor bad.'
So Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the
mountains, and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mountains of
20 years, Jacob was finally on the road again (31:41). The great escape
commenced. But, the plot thickened. Laban was an idol worshiper. And,
on the way out of town, Rachel stole Laban's household idols
which, no doubt, she mistakenly associated with the prosperity and
favor that Laban had enjoyed. Consistent with most of the ancient
history of Israel, Laban's household were polytheists. He worshipped
the Lord ... along with several other gods as well (31:30).
Pathetic, but true. Apparently, God had not yet revealed his
displeasure with such practices. That would come when he gave the Law
Our text says Jacob crossed the river.
That would be the Euphrates River. However, Laban heard about it and he
and his band of men quickly caught up. Jacob was encumbered with women
and children, flocks and herds, you see. However, God warned Laban in a
dream not to mess with Jacob by saying anything to him, good nor bad.
I suspect that, had God not spoken to him, Laban might have killed
Jacob and seized all of his possessions. But, after God's direct
intervention, Laban was forced to tread softly.
Laban said to Jacob: 'What have you done, that you have stolen away
unknown to me, and carried away my daughters like captives taken with
the sword? Why did you flee away secretly, and steal away from me, and
not tell me; for I might have sent you away with joy and songs, with
timbrel and harp? And you did not allow me to kiss my sons and my
daughters. Now you have done foolishly in so doing. It is in my power
to do you harm, but the God of your father spoke to me last night,
saying, "Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad." And
now you have surely gone because you greatly long for your father's
house, but why did you steal my gods?'
Then Jacob answered and said to Laban, 'Because I was afraid, for I
said, "Perhaps you would take your daughters from me by force." With whomever you find your gods, do not
let him live.
In the presence of our brethren, identify what I have of yours and take
it with you.' For Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them. And
Laban went into Jacob's tent, into Leah's tent, and into the two maids'
tents, but he did not find them. Then he went out of Leah's tent and
entered Rachel's tent. Now Rachel had taken the household idols, put
them in the camel's saddle, and sat on them. And Laban searched all
about the tent but did not find them. And she said to her father, 'Let it not displease my lord that I cannot
rise before you, for the manner of women is with me.' And he
searched but did not find the household idols.
Notice that Laban didn't obey God's instructions. According to verse 24, God said he was not to speak to Jacob either good or bad.
That being the case, what could Laban have done?
Obviously, the Lord left him no choice but to break off the pursuit and
go back home … lest he risk the Lord's wrath by saying anything at all
to Jacob. But, Laban was a "bullhead," as they say, and he came on
anyway. Making a mad dash to catch Jacob and recover his gods, he was
lucky to return home alive, brother. If God wasn't the God of all
grace, mercy and longsuffering, Laban would have been toast. So, in spite of God’s
warning to the contrary, when Laban caught up to Jacob, he proceeded to
chastise Jacob stiffly and accused him of stealing his gods. Then, a
search of the camp was instituted and only Rachel’s lie and cunning
saved them from her father’s discovery of the stolen idols, which, as
it turns out, she was sitting on and told her father that she couldn't
get up because she was having her period. Notice here, Laban was
searching his own daughter's tent, knowing full well that if he found
the idols there, Rachel would pay with her life! Does that tell you
anything about the nature of this man? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Jacob was angry and rebuked Laban, and Jacob answered and said to
Laban: 'What is my trespass? What is my sin, that you have so hotly
pursued me? Although you have searched all my things, what part of your
household things have you found? Set it here before my brethren and
your brethren, that they may judge between us both! These twenty years
I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not
miscarried their young, and I have not eaten the rams of your flock.
That which was torn by beasts I did not bring to you; I bore the loss
of it. You required it from my hand, whether stolen by day or stolen by
night. There I was! In the day the drought consumed me, and the frost
by night, and my sleep departed from my eyes. Thus I have been in your
house twenty years; I served you fourteen years for your two daughters,
and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times.
Unless the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac,
had been with me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed.
God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands, and rebuked you
The love of money is a paramount reason that injustice reigns in our world today. Paul writes … for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil
(1 Tim. 6:10 NIV). Laban was greedy. His love of money and
material things had consumed him. It was more important to him than his
own daughters. He was a man driven by the philosophy of this world that
says … Get all you can get and keep all you can keep!
His priorities, like those of countless others down through history,
were misguided and run amuck. God is just. He hates injustice.
Therefore, he had simply taken from Laban and given to Jacob what was
rightly owed. It was the just and equitable thing to do. Jesus said,
one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the
other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You
cannot serve God and mammon(money). Matthew
We should frequently ask
ourselves … Are my priorities
in the right place when it comes to money and the things of this world?
God's Word says,
is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting,
get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you; She will bring
you honor, when you embrace her. She will place on your head an
ornament of grace; A crown of glory she will deliver to you. Proverbs
not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust
destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves
treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where
thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:20-21 _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Laban answered and said to Jacob, 'These daughters are my daughters,
and these children are my children, and this flock is my flock; all
that you see is mine. But what can I do this day to these my daughters
or to their children whom they have borne? Now therefore, come, let us make a covenant,
you and I, and let it be a witness between you and me.' So Jacob took a
stone and set it up as a pillar. Then Jacob said to his brethren,
'Gather stones. And they took stones and made a heap, and they ate
there on the heap. Laban called it Jegar
Sahadutha, but Jacob called itGaleed.
And Laban said, 'This heap is a witness between you and me this day.'
Therefore its name was called Galeed, also Mizpah,
because he said, 'May the LORD watch between you and me when we are
absent one from another. If you afflict my daughters, or if you take
other wives besides my daughters, although no man is with us; see, God
is witness between you and me!' Then Laban said to Jacob, 'Here is this
heap and here is this pillar, which I have placed between you and me.
This heap is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not
pass beyond this heap to you, and you will not pass beyond this heap
and this pillar to me,for harm.
The God of Abraham, the God of Nahor, and the God of their father judge
between us.' And Jacob swore bythe
Fear of his father Isaac.
Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain, and called his brethren
to eat bread. And they ate bread and stayed all night on the mountain.
And early in the morning Laban arose, and kissed his sons and daughters
and blessed them. Then Laban departed and returned to his place.
In Aramaic … Jegar Sahadutha … means heap of witness. Gileed means heap of witness, in Hebrew. Mizpah means watch. J.Vernon McGee says that this was a covenant between two rascals. When entering into it, both men meant, The Lord keep an eye on you! Thus,
they parted ways and, I suspect, neither one missed the company of the
other again. One final word here ... when Jacob sealed his oath with
Laban, our text says that he swore by the Fear of his father Isaac. This is one of God’s names. It is quite unique and very much to the point. His name is, simply… Fear. The Bible says … the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10). One of the key characteristics of an unbeliever is that he or she has no fear of God. As you have it in Psalm
oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked:
There is no fear of God before his eyes.
Psalm 19:9, says,
fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever...
... is the great and powerful name that Jacob chose to use to seal his
oath with Laban. Do you fear the Lord, dear reader? It is one of
God's names you know. And, the Bible says it is the beginning of wisdom.
taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas
Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.