A Devotional Journey
led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year
Jacob agrees to heed his parents’ wishes
and marry someone from his own tribe. This must have resulted both from a sense of duty and a desire to get away from Esau for a while. He travels all the way to Haran, in Mesopotamia where his uncle lives.
As he begins the trip, Jacob has a vision at Bethel
which renews God’s promises to Abraham’s descendants (now through Jacob), and in response builds an altar there for the worship of God. The bargain
Jacob seeks to make with God is both one-sided and presumptuous.
Nevertheless, Jacob arrives in Haran, meets Rachel (his future wife) at a well where he helps her, and goes to stay at his uncle Laban’s house. Seeking to marry Rachel, the man who has been so clever himself is tricked by the cleverness of his uncle
and marries Leah without realizing it. He is allowed to marry Rachel as well (plural marriage was permissible in that society), but must work for his uncle seven years in payment.
Taking note of her difficult situation, being married to a man who really loves someone else, God blesses Leah with children and a long life
. He also continues to bless Jacob, and his flocks grow well beyond the size that might be expected. Even here Jacob uses cunning, albeit a rather superstitious kind (30:31-43), to help himself.
Deception may very well be its own reward
. There is always the need to hide, or flee, or tell one more story to deflect the truth. It's a habit worth avoiding and certainly worth overcoming. It would appear, as we'll see in chapter 32, that God eventually helped Jacob overcome his penchant to deception. It is, none the less, ironic that the man who at first made his way by deceiving his brother and father, is eventually himself victimized by the deceit of his uncle (and later his wife who lies to him about her theft of the family idols in chapter 31).
Have you ever been tempted to bend the truth, or to take advantage
of someone else?
Have you ever felt you were not getting the straight story
but instead were being taken advantage of by others?
Human relations depend on honest interaction and mutual respect.
When they become one-sided because one person is cheating another, both people lose. Esau lost his birthright, but Jacob lost his honor.
The deceived person may lose
whatever it is that the other person is after, not to mention the ability to easily trust others in the future. The deceiver loses more, however
: the ability to see the truth as an ally, or, even worse, the ability to recognize the truth at all.
Today, make a decision to be more honest and straightforward
in your dealings with other people. To paraphrase Jesus, it’s no advantage to win the world if you lose your soul in the process.
© A. Eugene Pearson 2011