Scripture: Genesis 30-31. Click here to view full scripture.
Observation: What was going on in the Bible at this time?
As we have seen in previous scriptures, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had wives who all had difficulty bearing children; then they in turn would end up having children with their maidservants. Rachel and Leah, Jacob’s wives, were in a great competition, racing to see who could have more children. Eventually God answered Rachel’s prayers and gave her a son of her own, even though she had given her maidservant to Jacob. Jacob’s flocks increased, and his wealth made Laban’s sons very jealous. Laban had treated Jacob unfairly, deceiving him and reducing his pay for the work he had completed. Jacob took his wealth, Rachel, Leah and all of his children, and they headed back to the land of Canaan. Rachel and Leah’s father, Laban, treated them poorly, just as he had treated Jacob. Rachel had stolen her father’s teraphim (small wooden or metal idols), which were to be passed on to an heir, and the person who received them could rightfully claim the greatest part of the family inheritance. Jacob had no idea that Rachel had done that, and Laban and some relatives hunted down Jacob and his family in attempt to find them. Jacob had made a habit to do more than what was expected of him for Laban, even taking several pay cuts. Jacob and Laban made a covenant.
Application: How can we apply this to our lives?
Jacob would have children with the maidservants he was given from his wives because it was an accepted custom during that time. Even though something is socially acceptable doesn’t mean that it is wise or right in God’s eyes. We must look at the potential consequences for our actions before doing things that could cause future problems. Rachel had given her maidservant to Jacob, taking matters into her own hands. God had a plan for her and eventually allowed her to have a child of her own. We need to trust God when nothing seems to happen and resist the temptation to think that God doesn’t care about our wants or needs and has forgotten about us. Patience is a virtue. We should also not compare our lives to others’ lives. By doing so, we may give jealousy a foothold. Like in the last lesson, we should rejoice in others’ successes and blessings. We, too, can be more like Jacob in the fact that he made it habit to do more than what was expected of him, even after taking several pay cuts.When we act in such a way, it pleases God, earns us recognition and advancement, makes people respect you more, builds others’ confidence in us, gives us more experience and knowledge, and develops our spiritual maturity because we are doing what God calls us to do.
Prayer: What can we pray for in regards to these passages?
Heavenly Father, help us to make the right decisions in all that we do. Help us to think of the possible consequences of our actions before being quick to act. We know that You have a plan for each and every one of us. Help us to continue to trust You and never lose our faith. Help us not to compare ourselves with other people, allowing jealousy to take a foothold in our lives, but to rejoice in others’ successes and continue to encourage them. Help us to do our best and to put our full efforts into our work and other daily activities on a regular basis, because we know that You highly approve of it. We want to grow and learn from You. Help us to draw near to You. – in Jesus’ name we pray, amen.