Summary: Jacob thought lightly about taking advantage of others, but he didn’t take it so lightly when others took advantage of him.
What Goes Around Comes Around
1. My son, Scott, an insurance broker in Florida, loves ocean fishing and takes his cell phone along on the boat. One morning we were drifting about ten miles offshore as Scott discussed business on the phone. Suddenly his rod bent double, and the reel screamed as line poured off the spool.
Scott was master of the situation. "Pardon me," he told his customer calmly. "I have a call on another line." [source: Reader’s Digest]
2. Women are better at multi-tasking because the spheres of their brain are more interconnected. Men, on the other hand, are better at focusing their attention.
3. But men often experience situations in which they must divide their attention. For us, such times can be an almost painful experience.
4. Jacob would find himself in this situation for years to come, as he ends up with two wives.
5. The Bible never glamorizes sin, nor does it cover it up.
6. Today’s text involves a lot of sin. The sin of deception is obvious. Polygamy was not God’s original intent: when He created the woman, God removed one rib from Adam, not a whole rack! And we see a man, Laban, who is bent on control and manipulation.
7. God’s Word not only directs us in the way we should go, but it demonstrates the consequences of going the wrong way!
Main Idea: Jacob thought lightly about taking advantage of others, but he didn’t take it so lightly when others took advantage of him.
I. Jacob is On the RECEIVING End of a Manipulative Scheme (29:14b - 30)
A. Jacob and Laban strike up a DEAL (14b-19)
B. Jacob had paid his DOWRY and expected Rachael (20-22)
1. This was all protocol
2. Jacob’s service a dowry -- and time danced by
• Most men want their daughters to marry a responsible man, and the dowry was one way to demonstrate that a man could work, save, and provide for his wife…
3. A cousin -- the prime person to marry
4. A wedding feast and then the consummation of the marriage
C. Laban substituted LEAH for Rachael (23-25a)
D. Jacob doesn’t like the TASTE of his own medicine (25b)
1. Jacob had deceived his father, Isaac, when he pretended to be Easu, and then stold Esau’s blessing
2. "What goes around comes around." Not always, not exactly, but often.
3. What Laban does is to exploit Jacob’s deepest feelings for Rachel
4. Laban had as demonstrated more nerve and was more insidious than Jacob
5. He had invited the whole town to celebrate a fraudulent wedding
6. If what Laban did was right, he would not have needed to be sneaky
E. Jacob Confronts Laban and Laban RATIONALIZES (26-27)
• He explains supposed customs
• Why didn’t he tell Jacob beforehand about this custom?
1. He marries off BOTH daughters
• He gives Jacob responsibility for thier handmaids, Zilpah and Bilhah
• According to Jewish tradition, these women were Laban’s daughters by a concubine
2. He gets 14 years FREE labor
3. He keeps his family TOGETHER
4. In Genesis, we are told, when a man marries, he is to leave his parents; but Laban wanted to control this family…
F. Jacob Has TWO Wives, Whom He Treats Unequally (28-30)
We think that blended families or other complex families are new to our age; confusing families go back some time, as we see here!
1. Everyone is miserable!
2. A competitive relationship develops between Rachel and Leah
3. Rachael would be Jacob’s favorite wife, but the tribe of Judah, the line of David, and thus Jesus descended from Leah, not Rachel!
4. Although Leah was not favored by Jacob, she was by God; she lived longer and had more children.
5. Jacob wanted things simple; he wanted a wife, which is natural.
6. Because of Laban’s sin, Jacob has a mess on his hands
Jacob thought lightly about taking advantage of others, but he didn’t take it so lightly when others took advantage of him
II. The GOLDEN Rule is the Antidote for Shady Behavior
Both Jacob and Laban violated the Golden Rule. Jesus may have stated the Golden Rule 2,000 years later, but Jacob and Laban knew the concept. They knew their manipulative and dishonest behavior was wrong and took advantage of others.
As followers of Jesus Christ, do we take the Golden Rule seriously?
Luke 6:31 presents the Golden Rule, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
The great Rabbi Hillel, who died when Jesus was a young teen, said, "What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Law; the rest is the explanation; go and learn"
A. EMPATHY: Trying to understand another’s feelings