The Usurper Usurped (Gen 29:15-35)
God had to mould and humble Jacob. In Genesis 29:15-35, He broke Jacob down and Jacob had to learn to trust Him. In Genesis 29:15, Laban addressed Jacob on equal term (calling him “brother”) when in fact he was his uncle. Laban seemed to be very kind, but cunningly he was taking advantage of Jacob. Laban reminded Jacob that he was still serving him as his servant. It was an unpleasant experience for Jacob but the Lord was humbling, moulding and shaping him. What about us? Can we trust that our trying circumstances are of the Lord? The problem is not in the external circumstances. The problem is: can we submit to our Lord? Trying circumstances have their purposes. For us, we are to look to the Lord, and not resist Him. Trying circumstances and difficult people sometimes come together. Can we trust God when dealing with difficult people?
Jacob got a shock the morning after his wedding. He discovered that Laban had given him Leah instead of Rachel as his wife. Laban had never once mentioned about their culture that the older child is to be married first before the younger. The marriage was a public event and there were witnesses to the marriage. Jacob confronted Laban as he felt cheated. He agreed to work for Laban another seven years to have Rachel as his wife. After a week, Jacob married Rachel. Laban gained fourteen years of free service from Jacob. Sometimes we have plans for our future that we want to craft out for ourselves. In the lesson on timing, God’s time and perfect plan are never wasted. Everything has a purpose. In this time of waiting, we are to remain patient in order to see His plan and experience who God is. Trust in the Lord even when facing trying circumstances and difficult people because He is merciful.
In Genesis 29:31-35, the focus shifted to Leah. Jacob cared for Rachel and neglected Leah, but the Lord remembers. In the Old Testament, childbearing was closely related to God’s blessings. The names of Leah’s four sons are significant. Reuben means “see/look, a son”, Simeon “to hear”, Levi “to be joined” (it is a hope of Leah that Jacob would be joined to her), and Judah “praise”. In Leah’s case, she too had to learn to trust in the Lord. She was also a victim of Laban’s deceit. Can we trust that the Lord sees and hears, and that we can praise the Lord? Can we trust in the Lord that trying circumstances and difficult people can teach us dependence on Him and that He is faithful and has a plan for us.