…..how ya doin? Are you reading your Bible? Have you started? If you haven’t, pick up on today, start today.
Because I am reading this story in my daily Bible reading, and because I am so beyond busy…seriously, just BUSY…anything I can to bring in a little extra money….that kind of BUSY. I have several posts I need to write, but can’t seem to find the time to do it!
So, because I’m that kind of busy, I’ll post a re-run for you.
Just as I am. originally posted June 09.
35 28 years of life, I have had a good variety of life experiences. Some were good, some were bad, some were VERY good, and some were very very bad. But all of them have molded and shaped me into the person I am today. Some experiences I have discussed here, some I may never be able to speak of to another person on this earth. But all of them, were for a purpose, and in the end, God is glorified in all of them, one way or another.
I believe we all have those stories. We all have those life experiences that mold us and change us, some for the good, and for others, it has the opposite affect. I believe what we DO with those life experiences, and how we handle them, can either make us better, or make us worse. How did we handle ourselves? What did we do with this experience to learn from it? Did we learn from it at all? Do we come out better for it? Or worse? How was God glorified in it?
Personally, I know I run the gamet on my reactions to experiences. Sometimes I’m the good Christian girl and run STRAIGHT to God. Other times, I’ve crawled in a hole and wanted to die. I’ve prayed and my faith has grown, or I’ve completely lost it and attacked back. Not proud of that, but ya know, I’m human. I’m not perfect, I’m a perfectly unperfect human. Only other perfectly UNperfect humans can follow that logic….
This is the story of Jacob. Jacob was another UNperfect human. We learned in last weeks lesson how Jacob lied to steal his brother’s inheritance. Oh Jacob was a naughty naughty boy…. When his brother found out his deception, he vowed to kill Jacob, so he ran.
THIS week, we find Jacob on the way to Laban’s house (his uncle). As in all good stories, enter the beauty. Rachel was BEAUTIFUL! Jacob was enamored the moment he saw her! He immediately watered Laban’s sheep that Rachel was keeping, then he kissed her and WEPT!
Now, I like men to be sensitive. But I’m not sure about this whole weeping thing right here. Seems a little METROsexual for me, and I may have been turned off REAL fast by that. 2 things to remember: #1, this part will NOT be mentioned in my lesson tomorrow 😉 and #2, I’ve never in all of my years had a man weep over my beauty. Now that I’m thinking of it, it’s been so very long ago that a man has even said I was PRETTY much less beautiful….I went 3 days before my handsome honey even noticed I’d had a HAIRCUT…so I’m thinking the whole WEEPING over my beauty will never happen in my lifetime no matter how many years I devote to that darn eliptical!
But I digress sadly….
Jacob offered to work for Laban for 7 years in exchange for his daughter, Rachel, whom he loved. This would MORE than cover a dowry, and was standard practice back then for someone in Jacob’s position: poor.
So Jacob worked the 7 years and on his wedding day, Laban the Equally Devious, exchanged the OLDER sister, Leah, for Rachel. In fact, Jacob, apparently SO enamored with the idea of finally wedding his Rachel, consummated the marriage FULLY ::::wink wink:::: and did not discover the trickery until after.
(Seriously……how DARK can a room be for you to not KNOW who you are with? I mean….REALLY now…..WOW…OLD BOY was in a hurry there….)
Jacob obviously confronted Laban over his deception. (Wouldn’t you LOVE to be a fly on the wall of THAT little exchange!) But Laban, being older and wiser, reasoned it as it was CUSTOMARY for the older to marry first…..and Jacob, becoming older and wiser, agreed to not put away Leah (awwwww…..) and work another 7 years for Laban in exchange for Rachel.
Now…..really……you just HAVE to see the irony in the whole thing. Jacob=tricked his brother AND his father for the inheritance and Laban=tricked Jacob into marrying the OLDER sister AND work another 7 years to marry the one he wanted in the FIRST place! I’m sorry…I’m chuckling a little there!
Years pass and God blesses Jacob with many children, a strong household, and a large flock of healthy sheep. Go sheep! But Jacob doesn’t want to stay with Laban and decides to return to Palestine (UH OHHH….Palestine means ESAU the brother that wanted to KILL him. OOPS!).
Genesis 32:3-8 Then Jacob sent messengers on ahead to his brother Esau in the land of Seir in Edom. He instructed them: “Tell my master Esau this, ‘A message from your servant Jacob: I’ve been staying with Laban and couldn’t get away until now. I’ve acquired cattle and donkeys and sheep; also men and women servants. I’m telling you all this, my master, hoping for your approval.'”
The messengers came back to Jacob and said, “We talked to your brother Esau and he’s on his way to meet you. But he has four hundred men with him.”
Jacob was scared. Very scared. Panicked, he divided his people, sheep, cattle, and camels into two camps. He thought, “If Esau comes on the first camp and attacks it, the other camp has a chance to get away.”
Pretty smart thinking. He divided the household by wives, each with their own children and servants. Leah’s first followed by Rachel’s. (little twinge of sympathy for Leah there….awwww….) Then he sent them on ahead and stayed behind.
And then he prays: “God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, God who told me, ‘Go back to your parents’ homeland and I’ll treat you well.’ I don’t deserve all the love and loyalty you’ve shown me. When I left here and crossed the Jordan I only had the clothes on my back, and now look at me—two camps! Save me, please, from the violence of my brother, my angry brother! I’m afraid he’ll come and attack us all, me, the mothers and the children. You yourself said, ‘I will treat you well; I’ll make your descendants like the sands of the sea, far too many to count.'”
That night, Jacob wrestled with someone . It is unclear whether he wrestled with God Himself or with an angel. But Jacob was NOT deterred! But what we need to remember is God did not abandon Jacob in his fear, and Jacob’s fear did not make him give up!
I’ve had those moments. I’ve had those moments of such FEAR that your entire body shakes. Fear that paralyzes you to the spot and leaves you unable to move. And I’ve prayed during those times of fear, prayers of desperation and longing and DETERMINATION! I am NOT leaving here til I have my answer! I’m not wavering!
Please note: God does NOT leave us in those hard times. We are NOT forgotten. We are NOT left struggling alone. He promised He would NEVER leave us or forsake us. And even though Jacob was TERRIFIED of the prospect of meeting his brother again and the knowledge that Esau could kill not only himself, but his entire family as well, his fear did NOT cause him to give up. He remained faithful in his relationship with God, acknowledging his unworthiness of God’s blessings!
His faith GREW! Jacob came a long way from the boy that tricked his brother with a bowl of soup and donned goat hair to deceive his dad.
These were Jacob’s life experiences that were molding him and changing him into the man God wanted to USE! The man he WAS, was not the man that God could have used, He had to send him through that fire of life to refine him and grow him into the man of God he became.
I strongly believe that each of us is here for a PURPOSE. We have a PLAN set before us before Time began. Each of us has a mission from God and it is our jobs to allow God to mold us and shape us into the person that can DO the mission. That’s not always easy either…or pretty. AND, we have to be willing to allow the process. Who I was as a snotty teenager, is NOT the person I am today. The person Mike married almost 17 years ago, is NOT the woman he goes to bed with every night. I have changed and grown….and I’ve been refined through the fire. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve changed in my relationship with Christ. And over the years, I’ve accomplished some missions along the way….laid ground work for others…..and anxiously awaiting the missions to come. But I have to allow God to create the person I need to be to accomplish them.
I have to stay close. I have to stay in contact. I have to read my Bible. I have to be PRESENT and WILLING. Lord…..I’m yours…..
And the story ends with the reuniting of Jacob and Esau. Over that 20 years, Esau allowed God to soften his heart and be a man of forgiveness. Jacob allowed God to become a better person and a man humble enough to go to the one he’d wronged with humbleness . He acknowledged that he was guilty and he took steps to correct it.
I believe that’s a lesson for ALL of us….or several lessons for us…. Someone you need to forgive? Someone you need to ask forgiveness from? Need to release your control over your life and let God take over? Need to lose the fear? It doesn’t matter where we are, the promise that we won’t go alone is always there.
We just have to acknowledge His presence and humble ourselves and ask for Him…..