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Rev. Peter Greiner

Sun 22 Jul

In our passage this morning Jacob’s uncle Laban tricks him into marrying his two daughters, Rachel and Leah. Laban did wrong – he sinned – when he did this, and Jacob also did wrong – sinned – when he agreed to marrying more than one woman.

Looking at this story, the first thing to remember that God is in control even when we sin. Romans 11:36 tells us: From him (God), and through him and to him are all things. This means that God has our sin, and the sins of others that harm us, as part of his plan. Please understand carefully. God does not tempt us to sin and God does not make us sin. Our sin comes from us, from our own hearts, and the guilt and responsibility lie with us (James1:13-15). Sometimes we have to say in a challenging situation, “It was my mistake, my sin. But God is working for my good, even now.”

The second thing to notice in this story, is that God is fulfilling promises to Jacob. Laban tricked Jacob and so Jacob ended up with two weddings, two wives and their two maids. That was polygamy, and that was sin. But, still, the four women between them give him twelve sons, and the twelve sons became many descendants, the nation of Israel. God had promised that, and God was working towards that.

The third thing in the story is that God was rebuking Jacob for his past sin. Jacob had deceived his blind father into thinking Jacob was his brother Esau (Genesis 28). Now Laban has now deceived Jacob into thinking that Leah was Rachel. Jacob can only say, “Laban has done to me just what I did back there to my Dad.” God’s hand is clear, and his fatherly discipline.

Training and discipline through suffering is part of God’s plan for our lives. God does not promise us roses without thorns. When suffering comes, we must respond as the Bibles teaches us to do. And so we grow into the likeness of Christ. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

John Ellis