What did you think of our scripture passage on Monday? I know it may be familiar to you, but did you really stop and dwell on it? Think on it?
Imagine being Leah . . . what was it like to grow up with a drop-dead-gorgeous little sister -- to know that she had lots of boyfriends, while you may not have had any. Then, what was it like to have your own father come to tell you that instead of your sister, you would be celebrating your wedding night tonight with a man that you knew loved your sister?
Ever heard the expression "You can't con a con man"? Meaning, you can't deceive someone who is habitually deceiving others.
Jacob was indeed a deceiver. Remember when we studied the life of Rebecca, his mom? We noted that he deceived his brother Esau into selling or trading his family birthright for a mess of red beans. Then later, he deceived his dad, Isaac, by bringing him seasoned game to eat, and serving him with animal skins covering his arms. Old Isaac believed his own hands, when they felt the "hairy" arms of the son before him -- his eyes were blinded by age. He blessed Jacob instead of Esau with the best blessings from a father to a son.
I think that people use that saying (can't con a con man) because deceitful people are so wrapped up in their schemes, and so accustomed to lying and deceiving others, that they think everyone else must be honest. At the very least, other people aren't as smart as them, right? So they feel they are safe from anyone fooling them.
Boy, did Jacob have a rude awakening.
He turned over in bed, the morning after his wedding, and looked at the woman he'd taken in his arms and loved . . . and it was NOT Rachel!
Yep, Laban had instructed his oldest daughter, Leah, to put on the wedding veil and go into the dark of night with a husband who did not want to marry her. What a great dad!
Oh, wait, we're not studying him, here.
Let's dive in!
After traveling to where his relatives lived in the land of Haran, Jacob met his uncle, Laban. He was warmly welcomed and then began to work for him as a shepherd. After the first month of work, Laban was going to pay him and told him to "name his price." Sounds kinda nice, no? Well, Laban was outwardly generous, but inwardly conniving. (Grin) He knew good and well that Jacob was head over heels in love with Rachel! In that culture, one had to pay the bride's father when you married his daughter -- what to do? Jacob didn't have much to offer, since he'd run away from the family and all the wealth and property there. He had nothing but his services to offer.
Laban knew that, of course. He knew that Jacob couldn't set the price too low, for fear of insulting the lovely girl he longed to marry. So, he said he would work for seven years.
Well, we've already said what happened . . . when he went back to his dad-in-law, he was told that another seven years' work would get him the bride that he wanted.
So, the deceiver has met his match; maybe that is why he doesn't fuss too much, but agrees to work even longer in order to get Rachel.
People often get hung up on the Old Testament, since some things they read there are not God's first and best plan for humans. Multiple wives and the musical beds game that they necessitate are not in His perfect plan for us.
God did not approve of this. His plan is one man, and one woman; Jacob was going to learn that from experience. He was going to have marital problems from day one!
Leah, the first bride, was desperate to capture her husband's heart. She didn't have the beauty that would ensure that, so she cried out to God in her desperation. God reached down and touched her life; she bore a son to Jacob.
Remember what she said?
Can you hear the longing in her words? She must have seen the love shining in Jacob's eyes when he looked at Rachel. How she longed for him to look at her in that way. But perhaps he would, when she bore him children!
The first boy born was named Reuben, meaning "he has seen my misery" or "see, a son." Simeon's name meant that Leah felt God had heard of Jacob's dislike of her, and given her another son. Some scholars say that Levi's name meant she hoped Jacob would join with her, while others say it meant "priest." Judah, her fourth son, was named "praise" because of her praise for God in allowing her to bear another son.
Oh, every time she names a child she thinks, now my husband will love me. Now I'll have some kind of meaning in my life.
We'll finish our study of Leah tomorrow.