Reality Hits – Genesis 29-30

Jacob when from the mountaintop to the valley. I’m sure he hardly felt the miles traveling from the stone pillow to “the land of the people of the east,” where his father and the Lord had told him to look for a wife. He was elated as he waited at the well and beautiful Rachel arrived. Single-handedly, he moved the stone from the well, impressing her as well as others. And in a rare show of emotion, he “kissed Rachel and wept aloud.”

And then Laban came running to meet him, probably expecting a caravan of riches like the time before. Jacob stayed with Laban a month when Laban made him an offer he could not refuse – working seven years for the hand of Rachel.

So Jacob and Rachel flirted for seven years, and everything seemed to be going Jacob’s way…

But it seems that life catches up…

Just as Jacob had deceived Esau, Laban deceived Jacob, and instead of giving him Rachel as a veiled wife, he gave him his older daughter, Leah. Jacob experienced the same shock Esau had when he realized he had been deceived by Jacob. The tables had turned.

Life isn’t as easy as we would like it to be, even if we are walking with God. He has things he wants to teach us that only come with time. 

Eager to have his beloved Rachel, Jacob agreed to work seven more years. And then eager to go home with some wealth, he agrees to work even longer… 

And then there are lessons within the family, Leah getting pregnant, Rachel being barren. The giving of servants to Jacob for sex – hadn’t he heard of the disaster this practice was for Abraham? Why did he think it would turn out better for himself?

And then favoritism shown to children, something he had experienced in his own life. Trading sex for mandrakes? Going along with what others tell you to do, jealousy and competition. It’s all part of the world around us, and in us. 

Life lessons. It’s not easy, even with a personal relationship with God. There are still daily choices, lessons to be learned, building faith, building strength. Sometimes we make good choices; sometimes we make bad choices.

And our lives end up being the sum of choices.

Choices – Genesis 27

There is so much sadness in these stories, just like there is sadness in our lives. The characters are so messed up, just as we mess up.

Esau, even before he had is blessing stolen, was making poor choices. He took two Hittite women as wives, and…”they made life bitterfor Isaac and Rebekah.

I wonder what “bitter” life was like for Isaac and Rebekah? The women were from a different culture. They may have brought their idols and worship, maybe even their language, with them.  Were they undermining Isaac in his belief in his God? Were they encouraging Esau to get his inheritance? Were they whispering behind Isaac and Rebekah’s backs, giggling as they walked away?

Whatever it was, it made Rebekah say, “I loathe my life because of the Hittite women. If Jacob marries one of the Hittite women like these, one of the women of the land, what good will my life be to me?”

Think for a moment about the taste of bitter. It’s not unbearable, just unpleasant. You want to spit it out, but you can’t.

Some relationships are like that – just bitter. They leave a taste in our mouths, but we can’t spit it out.

It makes me wonder, am I a “bitter” to anyone? Do I leave a taste in their mouth that is just off, sour, not pleasing? Are they tolerating me rather than enjoying me?

These women had a choice. They could respond to God as they learned of him through Isaac and Rebekah. Or they could cling to their old Gods, becoming bitter to those around them.

What is my choice?