Read: Genesis 28-29:20
Reflect: When it comes to the life of Jacob I find that the wilderness is a literal and figurative season of life for Jacob and his wives in multiple ways.
Genesis 28:5 “Then Isaac sent Jacob away, and he went to Paddan-aram to Laban, son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.
6 Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram to take to himself a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he charged him, saying, “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan,” 7 and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and had gone to Paddan-aram. 8 So Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan displeased [c]his father Isaac; 9 and Esau went to Ishmael, and[d]married, besides the wives that he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebaioth.”
So Rebekah knew Esau was furious with Jacob and had him sent away. This was actually a good thing because Jacob was told to marry a woman from Canaan which is what Esau should have done. Interestingly in v9 Esau tries to right a wrong by taking on another wife.
The next section is pretty interesting to me. Jacob has a dream and God gives him a promise. Genesis 28:” 12 He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold,the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 And behold,the Lord stood [h]above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your [i]descendants. 14 Your [j]descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will [k]spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your[l]descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”
Jacob hears directly from God just as his grandfather and father before him. And he receives the same promise. This bloodline is a blessed one, and it’s certainly not because of their perfect lives! So Jacob makes a vow and claims God’s words for himself and consecrates the land. So far this journey is off to a great start, even in the physical wilderness. Genesis 28: 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I [q]take, and will give me [r]food to eat and garments to wear, 21 and I return to my father’s house in [s]safety, then the Lord will be my God. 22 This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”
Genesis 29:1-29 Jacob meets Rachel. I’ve read this story or heard it many times. We are going to stop half way through the chapter to focus on Jacob’s choices. He’s attentive here. He serves Rachel at their first meeting and then he serves Laban. Jacob has been living with Laban for a month before he asks for Rachel’s hand. Seven years of being together under the same roof occurs prior to their marriage. I find this point to be important when we read about their marriage.
Record: What do you think of Esau’s desire to marry one of Ishmael’s daughters? Do you think this made things “right”?
Why do you think Jacob received the blessing from God that he did? What do you think of Jacob’s response?
When you consider Jacob and Rachel knew each other for 7 years prior to marriage what types of things do you expect to unfold?
Review: When I consider Jacob’s life I can’t help but find some similarities. Jacob jumped to honor God when he was promised that his descendants would be numerous. He didn’t realize the promise he was making would include such hard things, so he made the promise easily.
Things become harder to stick to when we see the reality of all that is involved. For me this meant that sticking to promises when surprise pregnancies, financial strain and major health issues arrived.