Isaac and Rebekah are well aware of their Godly ancestry and destiny, so they send their son to Haran that he would not marry any of the daughters of Canaan. The Bible clearly forbids believers to marry non-believers (2 Corinthians 6:14) for their non-believing spouse has the powerful potential to turn their heart away from the Lord (that’s what happened to Solomon, 1 Kings 11:4).
Isaac realizes the blessing truly has fallen to Jacob so he blesses him volitionally (Genesis 28:3-4).
In a futile attempt to please his parents, Esau takes as wife a daughter of Ishmael his half brother, but when someone is in the flesh, they make all the wrong moves.
The LORD appeared to Jacob in a dream revealing the “connection” and intervention between heaven and earth. The LORD confirmed to Jacob the Abrahamic covenant of land and descendants, and how through him, “…all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” This of course is a prophecy of Jesus Christ.
In response, Jacob built an altar, he didn’t want to forget this dream. He renamed the city Bethel, which means “House of God,” and in Jacob-fashion He made a deal with God, promising to give the LORD a tithe of his possessions if God would be with him, keep him, and provide for him so that he would return to his father’s house.
What a crazy story of Jacob and his two wives, but often our stories are. Jacob arrives in the land asking for his uncle Laban. The men know Laban and point out the fact that his daughter, Rachel, was approaching as they spoke. For Jacob it was like love at first sight. Initially I thought it was wrong that he kissed her on their first date (Genesis 29:11) but then I noticed that his uncle kissed Jacob when he saw him (Genesis 29:13) so I gave Jacob the benefit of the doubt (but I still wonder).
The formation of this family (keep in mind Jacob eventually becomes Israel) is flooded with grace.
Every husband should be inspired by Genesis 29:20 but I wonder if Jacob’s love at this point was eros (erotic) and not agape (divinely unconditional, true love).
Genesis 29:20 (NKJV) “So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her.”
Jacob got a strong dose of his own medicine, when his uncle Laban deceived him by getting him drunk and slipping in the older sister, Leah, as wife (Genesis 29:25). Imagine that! But no worries Laban said, just serve another seven years and I’ll give you my younger daughter also. More than likely Jacob didn’t have to wait until the seven years were over to receive Rachel, but he DID work the full term for his second wife.
Why did Jacob love Rachel so much? Genesis 29:17 informs us that Rachel was beautiful and had a nice figure. I doubt that those are ever ingredients or factors of true love. Love is something rooted in the lover, not in the object of love, and how awful it is when a husband does not love his wife – such was the case for Jacob toward’s Leah – the Bible says in:
Genesis 29:31 (NKJV) “…the LORD saw that Leah was unloved…”
What a heavy indictment of a husband!
It’s heartbreaking to see the way Leah hoped that with the birth of each child her husband would love her. Thankfully, by her fourth child she lifted her eyes to heaven rather than her husband (Judah’s name means “praise”) and she was able to praise the LORD.
Another day in the Ministry of the Messiah. He healed a woman with a twelve year flow of blood, He raised a 12-year-old from the dead, he healed two blind men, he cast out a demon, and I’m sure there was much, much more. It’s no wonder we read in:
Matthew 9:33b (NKJV) “And the multitudes marveled, saying, ‘It was never seen like this in Israel!’”
They should have known this was the Messiah!
In reading this section we clearly see the power of Christ, but we also see the factor of faith. The woman, the father, the blind men all had at least a mustard seed of faith (if not more) and Jesus honored that. Notice His teachings on faith:
Matthew 9:22 (NKJV) “But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.
Matthew 9:28b (NKJV) “And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord.’”
Matthew 9:29 (NKJV) “Then He touched their eyes, saying, ‘According to your faith let it be to you.’”
In verse 35 we have the three-fold ministry of Jesus articulated in order, teaching, preaching, and healing.
Jesus looked out at the people and was moved with compassion. They were weary and scattered like sheep having no shepherd (how does a sheep survive without a shepherd?). In response, He asked his disciples to pray for more laborers – something still needed today – people who truly make themselves available, and are willing to work for God sacrificially.
Don’t fly away like a bird – pray and trust the Lord. He’s testing us and working in our lives…but O the fate of the non-believer! (Psalm 11:6)
Even though it hurts, I’m glad that God doesn’t leave me to myself, He disciplines me, and deals with me validating my legitimacy as a son, and even proving His love. (see also Hebrews 12:5-11)
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.