Read Genesis Chapter 28
Jacob is sent away to find a wife. Isaac has his son go to the land of Paddan-Aram because he does not want him marrying a Canaanite woman. This makes me wonder if Isaac just wanted to get Jacob away from Esau because Esau was out to kill him… however, none-the-less, Isaac sends Jacob away. Esau hears that Isaac disapproved of Canaanite women and in an effort to make his father pleased he marries a daughter from the line of Ishmael, Abraham’s son from Hagar. Some scholars suggest that Isaac did not want Jacob to marry a Canaanite because of their spiritual toxicity. However, we learn in chapter 31 that Rachel brings her father’s idols with her so we cannot say that the people of Paddan-Aram were better off spiritually than the Canaanite’s.
Jacob departs for Paddan-Aram and on his way he has a dream. I imagine that Jacob is fearful. He has made his brother want to kill him, he is now on his own, and this probably was not what he imagined would come from receiving his father’s blessing. God gives Jacob a dream that brings comfort and reassures. In this dream is a stairwell; which represents the constant connectivity between this world and God. The Angels were going up and down representing that God sends aid to us and is active here. God stands beside him and reaffirms the covenant.
From Jacob’s actions of building a pillar memorial to the event, I believe this was the first time that Jacob was spiritually ready to hear God. The other times, when stealing the birthright and the blessing… those were steps done to receive physical or earthly gains, but now he was at a low point and was ready to hear God. God seems to speak loudest and clearest to me when I am at my lowest. When I realize that, I am wrong and seeing the consequence of my actions… that is when I am ready to hear Him. I have learned to empty myself quickly now, to hear from him before hitting rock bottom but I must be willing to hear Him. Jacob was ready to hear God.
Read Chapter 29
The deceiver is deceived… Jacob falls madly in love with Rachel, but Laban switches Rachel for Leah on the wedding night. Jacob worked for seven years to be able to marry Rachel… can you imagine? This was so possible because the type of clothing they wore, Jacob had no clue it was Leah until after the marriage had already been consecrated. Then he is willing to work for seven more years to get Rachel… again. 14 years for one girl. Jacob does have perseverance even if it comes off in the wrong way sometimes.
However, one of the things that I notice is that when Jacob is deceived… he is mad. Just like he deceived his brother but he does not like it when the roles are reversed, and he is the one getting the short hand. However, who I really feel bad for in this passage is Leah. She spends most of the time having sons, and hoping it makes her husband love her more.
It sounds crazy. Having more babies in a bad relationship in hopes that he will love her more. However, women do this day in and day out. I have sat counseling women who admit that their boyfriends were leaving them, so they did not take birth control and got pregnant just to give him a reason to stay. Moreover, when it did not make them stay they are now trying to get abortions. However, in verse 35 of chapter 29 we see that Leah finally finds joy in God and praises God for Judah not hoping Jacob would love her more. She placed her joy in the one who could bring joy (read more on Leah and Judah here).
Read Chapter 30
Rachel, too, was feeling desperate. She could not conceive. Rachel gives Jacob a maid to have a child with. And Leah too, stops giving birth and gives Jacob maids… and the two sisters seem to think this is a competition. We women fall for that quite fast, don’t we? Who has the most children, who has the best career, the nicest house, the best post-partum waistline. I mean, you have heard of mom wars… haven’t you? Breastfeeding vs formula. Cloth diapers vs disposables. Homeschooling vs public school. Organic vs fast food… And if you are like me you end up being the mom who breastfeeds for 32 months only to end up letting them eat week old French fries of the van floor. I think it is because we falsely put our value in our children instead of God…
Read Chapter 31
Laban sees how good Jacob is doing and his mood changes against his son-in-law. Jacob decides to move out and go elsewhere. Rachel, who God allowed to have a child in chapter 29, doesn’t want to leave her father’s gods in case they are the ones who granted her the child. So she takes her father’s idols with her. This story is well known. I don’t plan to go in too much detail on it but it makes me stop and think how many earthly things I have held on to… when the blessing really came from God.
We lost Jonathan when he was four days old and I just wanted/needed a baby so bad. We were pregnant with Kennedy soon after and she has been one of the greatest blessings. But she came early and I fought pre-term labor from 24 weeks to 32 weeks with her… let me be honest here. I prayed… but I was more dependent on terbutaline and then magnesium to stop the contractions than I was on God. So, you may think they were just wooden idols to Rachel and that you don’t do the same things… but terbutaline and magnesium became my “idols. What idols do you hold on to that you are more dependent on than God? Now, terbutaline and magnesium very well could have been used by God but my problem was I trusted them more than God in that moment.
Read Chapter 32
Jacob is preparing to meet his brother again. He is so scared to meet his brother and he is trying to get things ready to win his brother over with a huge offering and just does anything he can to make his brother not kill him. Jacob is desperate.
In desperation is yet again when God meets Jacob. He wrestled with Jacob all night and yet, could not overcome him… perseverance. This is hard for us to imagine but a Christian does this often with God even if we don’t walk away with a limp.
We wrestle with Him asking, “why did you let that happen?” “Where are you, God?”. I did this after losing our son. I was just so confused on where he was because my marriage was falling apart from grief waves and I didn’t understand why he was “making me go through so much” but now on this side of all of it I can say that wrestling with Him made me stronger because I held out for the blessing. Now, my marriage is much stronger and much more of a blessing… we have to be willing to hold out for the blessing. To fight for the blessing and it will be given to us. (Read more on fighting for the blessing here).
Please feel free to comment and leave questions! I would love to hear what is speaking to you! #Dive with us.