Laban tricks Jacob into working another seven years for the woman he loves, Laban’s daughter Rachel. We don’t know from the passage what kind of worker Jacob is. We know that the first seven years seemed like a “few days” to Jacob because of his great love for Rachel.
Most of us work hard when the work results in some direct and tangible benefit to us. We work for recognition, more money, the ability to give others a life we didn’t have, to climb up another rung of the proverbial ladder. I hope that every Christian works hard to honor God with his or her ethic and theology of work.
Jacob works for fourteen years in order to marry his love. We learn in Genesis 30 that under Jacob’s care the family wealth has grown exponentially. (Read verses 25-30.) Jacob the deceiver met his match. However, he worked hard and persisted, giving all he had for the love of his life.
What if we worked hard for many years without seeing the results we hoped for? Would we still honor God with the way we put our hand to the plow, so to speak, in our efforts to work diligently? God calls us to care for creation, which goes well beyond our personal interests and rests on God’s interests. After Jacob marries Rachel, he works for Laban another seven years—twenty-one years in total. Would that our commitment to kingdom work were so focused.
God, may I be the kind of worker who pleases you in all that I do—even with no tangible benefit to me. May I serve in a way that brings glory to you. Amen.
In the Genesis text, Jacob the trickster is tricked. Yet through a combination of patience and perseverance he ultimately wins Rachel, which sets the stage for all that follows in the story of Abraham’s family. Psalm 105 addresses a forgetful community that has lost touch with the God of the Exodus. Remembering becomes a powerful experience when it focuses on both God’s actions and God’s judgments. Romans 8 also serves as a reminder of God’s way, of God’s movements from knowledge to action, from saving grace to promised glory. The scribe of Matthew’s short parable brings out of the store- house both what is new and what is old. There is no true future without a remembrance of the past.
• Read Genesis 29:15-28. When have you experienced a setback due to poor treatment at the hands of someone you trusted? What did you learn?
• Read Psalm 105:1-11, 45b. How do you “seek God’s face”? How do you offer thanks to God?
• Read Romans 8:26-39. Consider Paul’s three questions and formulate a one- or two-sentence answer of your own.
• Read Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52. How do the parables about what the kingdom of God is like surprise you? How do they shock you?
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