We Reap What We Sow Part 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
The first lesson is that GOD LEADS HIS CHILDREN ALONG.
We can see that if we go back to the first time that Jacob saw Rachel. Jacob set out on a dangerous journey, and many things could have happened to him. However, God was with him, and the scriptures indicate that he came quickly to the country where his mother’s people lived. He then happened upon several herds of sheep that belonged to his uncle Laban. One of the shepherds, who had brought the sheep to the well to be watered, was Rachel. The adrenaline must have been flowing in his system, because when he saw Rachel, he was able, by himself, to roll the stone from the well’s mouth, a task that usually required several men. When he identified himself to Rachel, she was delighted to know him and ran to tell her father. The fact that Jacob found Rachel right off the bat seems to be more than coincidence. God was working in Jacob’s life.
How interesting it is for us to know that in spite of our shortcomings and sins, God can use us. The Lord had chosen Jacob as the channel through which the Messiah would come. If we had been choosing, no doubt we would have chosen Esau, for in many ways he was a more likable person. Yet Jacob, with all his unlikable traits, had a nature sensitive to God’s will. He did not always act in accordance with his knowledge but he genuinely loved God in spite of his personal ambition and inconsistent nature. Esau, on the other hand, was a worldly, wise sophisticate who felt no need for religious affiliation or divine support.
God blesses us when we are earnestly trying to do His will. He will lead us if we will only keep ourselves in tune with Him. He does not count our mistakes, but only our good intentions. His mercy is always ready to wipe the slate clean and give us a fresh start. His new home was a place of “beginning again” for Jacob. We too can know the joy of starting afresh if we will honestly seek the Father’s face and will.
The next lesson that we can learn from this story is that THE WEB OF DECEPTION IS A TANGLED ONE.
A poet wrote, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Jacob learned this truth first hand. He started out as a deceiver. Nothing mattered to him except getting what he wanted. He didn’t care if he hurt anyone in getting his hands on the things he felt he must have at a given moment. Then he met someone that operated in the same manner. Experts do not agree as to whether or not we inherit emotional qualities, but we cannot help but wonder if Jacob’s “craftiness” was from his mother’s side of the family. After all, she aided him in deceiving Isaac, and now we discover that her brother has the same characteristics. However, even Jacob the schemer was not going to gain the upper hand with Laban because Laban had more resources to work with and therefore had Jacob at a disadvantage.
What do you imagine Jacob thought the morning after his wedding when he found Leah in his tent? Do you suppose he saw any relationship between the darkness of the tent the night before, and the darkness of his father’s eyes when Jacob tricked him in order to get his blessing? The similarities are too great to go unnoticed. Jacob must have felt great remorse. We do not, however, see any repentance at this moment. Sin has stalked its victim! Jacob was now getting a dose of his own medicine.
The last lesson that we can learn is this, GOD ALWAYS SENDS COMPENSATION.
The relationship between Jacob and his wives is an interesting one. Naturally, Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah. However, God blessed Leah with many children, which was the greatest honor that could come to a woman of that day. It was a long time before Rachel bore even one child, and then she died giving birth to the second one. There is a case that could be made that Leah was the better of the two because Rachel was a “beauty queen” who did not want to work, while Leah tried hard to be a good wife. We do not have dogmatic evidence of this, but the text appears to imply it.
Rachel died before Leah and was buried beside the road near Bethlehem. She never enjoyed the blessings and fruits of old age. Leah, however, lived a long time and was finally buried in the cave of Machpelah with Jacob, her husband, and the other two patriarchs, Abraham and Isaac, and their wives. Nearly four thousand years have passed, but the grave of Leah is still honored. Also, God sent the Savior through one of Leah’s sons, Judah. Life indeed has a strange way of sending compensating blessings for our inadequacies and adversities. However, it’s not strange at all if you understand that it’s the providence of God. God leads His children along. He will always accomplish His purpose, even if we don’t see His hand in what happens.
Jacob’s life is a strange mixture, a paradox, a dilemma. On one hand, he was a schemer and suffered for it. On the other hand, God stood within the shadows and kept watch over Jacob. He overruled Jacob’s mistakes and sins and blessed him in spite of them. Aren’t you happy that we serve a God who, because of His mercy, forgives our sins? We don’t have to beg Him and we don’t have to ask Him more than once. If we ask Him to forgive our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He can so easily forgive because Jesus paid our debt of sin when He died on that rough wooden cross. He will save us just as easily by His grace if we will just have faith in His Son. He will save all those who have faith in Jesus, no matter how great their sin.