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Even in the Setbacks

Words of Faith Final

Even in the Setbacks
Words of Faith 5-26-2022
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2022
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Genesis 29
    After Jacob had stayed with him for a whole month, [15] Laban said to him, "Just because you are a relative of mine, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be."
    [16] Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. [17] Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel was lovely in form, and beautiful. [18] Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, "I'll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel."
    [19] Laban said, "It's better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with me." [20] So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.
    [21] Then Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife. My time is completed, and I want to lie with her."
    [22] So Laban brought together all the people of the place and gave a feast. [23] But when evening came, he took his daughter Leah and gave her to Jacob, and Jacob lay with her. [24] And Laban gave his servant girl Zilpah to his daughter as her maidservant.
    [25] When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn't I? Why have you deceived me?"
    [26] Laban replied, "It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one. [27] Finish this daughter's bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work."
    [28] And Jacob did so. He finished the week with Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. [29] Laban gave his servant girl Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maidservant. [30] Jacob lay with Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years.

       I have always felt sorry for Leah. The Bible seeks to be gentle in the description of the two saying that "Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel was lovely in form, and beautiful."  That is another way of saying Leah was the more homely, older sister.  
      Leah was the one that might have never married if left to her own devices. She was the one always overlooked because of her beautiful younger sister. The custom was for the older to marry first, and no one might have shown enough interest in Leah to wait that long! So Laban had a sneaky plan to solve all his "daughter problems."  A trick! This is not the sort of thing that would win him "Dad of the Year."
          And what a trick it was! It is difficult to imagine a father-in-law who would switch the bride! Jacob had more than met his match in terms of trickiness.   His eyes were probably clouded by his great love for Rachel, and Laban knew it. The switch took place, and the veiled Leah was put into the darkened wedding chamber in Rachel's place. Jacob's great joy at marrying Rachel was turned into a kind of nightmare. It is hard to imagine waking up the morning after a wedding night to the wrong woman!  
          The trickery of Laban against Jacob reveals several things. One is that the "nuts don't fall far from the tree."  The tricky nature of Rebekah seems to be a family quality that her brother Laban also possessed. Sadly, Jacob will not get to return and see Rebekah as she had hoped.
         There is also a less than subtle irony in the very trick used. Jacob had given in to his mother's duplicity and participated in tricking his father by switching the younger son for the older. Now Jacob was the victim of switching the older daughter in place of the younger.  
          Was this "switch" a consequence or a punishment from God against Jacob? Many commentators are quick to point out that Jacob received a dose of his own medicine and that this illustrates the truth that what a man sows, he shall reap (Gal. 6:7). We can only note that God did not intervene to warn Jacob or prevent the deception. But God was at work even in this to finally bring the great nation.
          Perhaps most important here is to see Jacob's character and tenacity. Even when tricked, Jacob seems to count this as a minor setback. He finishes the bridal week of celebration and then agrees to work for another seven years to marry Rachel.  
          And Jacob was true to his word to Laban! He took Rachel as his wife and then stayed the additional 7 years to work as payment. Who would have blamed Jacob if he had run away with Rachel? Who would have blamed him if he had abandoned Leah?  
         Jacob responded honorably to both Leah and Laban, even though he had been treated dishonorably. God was developing Jacob's character. And God was turning the fruits of deception into a blessing and building the promised seed, the nation of Israel. We see a message developing that will be clearer in Joseph's life-- "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done" (Genesis 50:20).  
           The truth is that as we journey in faith with God there will be setbacks. Some setbacks may even be the consequence of our own actions. But God is with us. The Lord will never leave us or forsake us. He is working toward our destiny. "I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11). We can learn from the setbacks. We do not have to respond dishonorably even when treated with deception. Why? We are learning that God is in charge. God is orchestrating our journey with Him.  God is working even through the setbacks.  

          Lord, I give thanks that You are in charge. I rejoice in knowing that even when things don't seem to go my way, You are still working toward Your plan for me. Give me Your hope and show me Your future for me. In Jesus' name.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2022
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)        
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2022 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.