I remember when I was a young lad being asked by my nan if I’m courting yet. I’d blush and tell her I’m far too busy for that. I mean at that age I really didn’t want that conversation with grown-ups. Of course, I did court—even though I didn’t use that term. I was interested and exploring dating, trying to find ‘the one’ that everyone else seemed to think was so important. But I don’t think I’d have ever devoted seven years to pursuing someone! That is some commitment and love—unfortunately we don’t know Rachel’s view on this and whether she was equally interested or whether she was just being treated as a possession. Putting that aside though, you can’t deny that Jacob is committed to her. I’m sure many of us would love to be so high in someone’s priorities that they’d give so much to us—maybe you do!
But then there’s the twist and what’s so tantalizing about the twist is that it echoes the trickery that Jacob had used with his sibling. Jacob had slyly conned Esau out of his birth right—it was the reason he had to run away and ended up staying with Laban. And here we find Laban tricking Jacob—he has to work another seven years to finally marry Rachel and move God’s story forward. Jacob is a slippery character—and I can’t help but feel for Leah who gets caught up in this. According to the biblical narrative, God takes pity on Leah and blesses her through the children she has. We’re not told what God thinks of the whole episode, but what God does is take people in their humanity and move them forward as they journey through life. Despite the messiness of the story, God still manages to use people.
Are there things that make you think God can’t use you?
Merciful God, take me as I am, with all my failures, and use me.
Write down some things that you feel makes your life messy, pray about them and throw the list away.