Pruning • Bait and Switch
Phil Piasecki | Worship Leader
There is nothing that I dislike more than being tricked. I think we have all been duped at one point or another. Maybe it was an online listing for something, but when it came in the mail it looked nothing like that ad or did not even work! My brother once ordered basketball shoes online, they came from China, and they were complete rip-offs. They were two sizes smaller than it said and looked like they could fall apart at any moment. Foolishly, I once bought a used riding lawn mower from a place with a no return policy. The ad said it started up and ran well; the only problem was that it did not do either! Sadly, we can also be tricked and deceived by people that we love, and nothing hurts more than that. I know many of us have stories that come to mind when we think about it, but I am sure none of them compare to what happened with Jacob and Rachel in Genesis chapter 29.
In this passage, we find Jacob meeting Rachel for the first time. It was love at first sight, and Jacob just knew he had to marry her. So Jacob seeks out her father, Laban, and agrees to arrange the marriage.
Genesis 29:18-20 reads, “Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, ‘I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.’ Laban said, ‘It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.’ So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.”
What a love story! The Scripture essentially says the seven years felt like a few days because Jacob loved Rachel so much. Unfortunately, it is at this point of the story where it all starts to fall apart.
Genesis 29:21-27 adds, “Then Jacob said to Laban, ‘Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.’ So Laban gathered together all the people of the place and made a feast. But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he went in to her. (Laban gave his female servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her servant.) And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, ‘What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?’ Laban said, ‘It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.’”
Laban tricked Jacob and gave him his first born daughter, Leah, on their wedding night instead. Not only does he trick him, but then requires that Jacob work another seven years to marry Rachel. When we finish the story, we see that Jacob faithfully works those seven more years because he loved Rachel so much. Now, I highly doubt any of us will find ourselves in the position of Jacob and Rachel, but there is still so much that we can learn from this story to apply to our own families.
Jacob was going through a very tough time for those fourteen years, but he stayed faithful through the whole thing. He honored his commitment to Laban even though Laban did not honor his commitment. There are going to be times when family life is difficult, when being married is difficult, and when raising children is difficult, but we have to persevere because of the commitments we have made. Loving your spouse is tough sometimes, but loving them is what you committed to do. You may not always feel like loving them, but love is about a commitment, not a feeling.
Jacob committed to marry Rachel, and he worked fourteen years just to see it through! That truth needs to inspire you when you feel like giving up on the commitment that you made to your spouse. If someone told you that marriage was going to be easy, I am sorry to say that they lied to you. With Christ at the center, there can be so much joy in marriage, but there will also be hardships. There will be times when loving each other will be tough. There will be times when you are hurt, deceived, and maybe do not feel loved. We need to look at the love Jacob had for Rachel, and the love that Christ has for us, as examples of how we are to love each other. We sin against God every day, yet He still loves us unconditionally. Imitate that love and commitment in your marriage, and you will see God do incredible things.