Summary: The 50th sermon in our series on the Book of Genesis.
Jacob Reaps His Harvest (Genesis part 50)
Text: Genesis 29:31 – 30:24
By: Ken McKinley
Now last time we looked at how Jacob had come to his uncle Laban’s house. How he had fallen in love with Rachel, and how Laban had double crossed him and tricked him into marrying Leah before he could marry Rachel. And basically; what we saw was a classic example of a man reaping what he had sown. He had lied and tricked his own father, so now his uncle had lied and tricked him. He had dishonored the principle of the birthright, but now he’s been forced to honor it, by marrying the older daughter before he could marry the younger daughter. And so Jacob is being taught some of life’s hard lessons. And the amazing thing in all of this is how God was working in it and through it. If you remember last time, I said, “God is not the author of sin, but in His providence, He knew what Laban was going to do, and even used it, to accomplish His will.” The closest thing I can equate that to, is the game of chess. If you know what your opponent is going to do… if you know how they will act and react, then you can actually plan several moves ahead. In-fact; if you’re good, you can know every possible move your opponent can make, and have counter moves for every one of them, and not only that, but you’ll also know the counters to your counters, and have counters to them as well. And being that God is omniscient (All Knowing), He knows everything we are going to do, and not only that, but everything we could’ve done. And He will use those things to bring about His will, His plans, and His purposes.
And so last week, we saw Jacob get married to both Leah and Rachel, and the last thing we read was that he loved Rachel more than Leah. And this is a pretty sad situation. Because as you read along in the story of Jacob, you see that Leah actually loves Jacob; but it’s a long time before he ever loves her. And I’ve actually seen this in some people’s relationships. One person loves the other, but that love isn’t returned. And usually it’s the woman, who’s madly in love with some loser guy. And while he’s out trying to find contentment, trying to find himself, trying to gain fortune or fame, or his version of happiness, the wife endures an unloving relationship. And it’s sad to see. And that’s what we’ve got here with Leah. More than anything in the world, she just wants Jacob to love her, but no matter what happens, she can’t seem to change his heart or mind.
And this isn’t only a problem that married couples have. There are a lot of young girls out there, who feel like they are unloved as well. And they’re looking for it, and they end up getting used by boys who could care less. And it ends up destroying them. Here’s the fact of the matter, and if you have daughters or granddaughters it’s a good idea to teach them this truth. A man doesn’t have to love a woman to go to bed with her. And going to bed with him, and even having his children, doesn’t mean that he will love you.
So Jacob loves Rachel… and the idea here is that he doesn’t love Leah… not at all. In-fact; the idea is that he kind of despises Leah. That’s what verse 31 of chapter 29 is saying… “When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved…” A more literal translation would be to say, “When the Lord saw that Leah was hated by Jacob…” He opened her womb.
Now isn’t it nice to know, that even if we are hated, God still loves us?!
Jacob hates her, but God loves her; and God gives her children.
Her first boy is named Reuben, which means “See I’ve had a son.” And she explains why she named him this. She basically says, “See I’ve had a son, because God has seen my anguish and pain.” So in the naming of her son, Leah is acknowledging God’s involvement in all of this. And if you look down at the names that Leah picks for her kids, you’ll see a continual reference to God. We don’t see that so much with Rachel. But Leah makes a reference to God, but then look… she does right in making a reference to God, but then she says; “Surely now my husband will love me.” So again; she’s got the wrong idea about her husband, and about men in general.
What I think we’re seeing here is that Jacob is not only blaming Laban, but he’s also blaming Leah. She was obviously in on the whole deception as well… but what he’s either not seeing, or not realizing is that Rachel had to be in on it as well. But I think that’s what we’re seeing here. And you know he’s angry, because he’s stuck with Leah, and he never wanted her in the first place. And we can see that in life a lot of times as well. You know… young people get bitter and think that they’ve missed out on life because they had a baby when they were young… or people who think that their spouse is holding them back in some way. I’ve seen it several times while counseling. You know; the husband blames his wife for all of his bad decisions in life… he blames her for holding him back and keeping him from achieving his full potential… and wives blame their husbands for all their bad decisions, and become bitter at their husbands because they think that they could’ve married so and so from high school or college, and oh how much better their life would’ve been then.