January 10, 2017

January 10, 2017

GENESIS 30-31

Focus Verse: “When Rachel saw that she was not bearing children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, ‘Give me children or I’ll die!’

Jacob became angry with her and said, ‘Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?’

Then she said, ‘Here is Bilhah, my maidservant. Sleep with her so that she can bear children for me and that through her I too can build a family.’”

Genesis 30:1-3

I’m going to go back to a little bit of the reading yesterday for this one. Let me first say, what a mess! For those who say that the Bible doesn’t say that polygamy is wrong isn’t really reading the story here. This is like an episode of Jerry Springer (for those of you old enough to remember that daytime debacle on television.

Honestly, the account would be rather funny if it weren’t so sad. Let’s do a quick recap for those not reading the full plan with us: All of Jacob’s deceit that he pulled on his brother Esau and his father Isaac is coming full circle, as Laban tricks him by giving him his daughter Leah in marriage instead of Rachel as he had promised. Then, when Jacob gets mad, he give him Rachel too. So Jacob becomes the first in the line leading to the Israelites to take multiple wives…and boy does it backfire!

Jacob loves Rachel more than Leah…which makes sense because he never wanted to marry Leah. So to make up for it, God gives Leah a whole bunch of male children (a HUGE sign of blessing back then). Meanwhile, Rachel can’t have any children, so she pulls out the blueprints from her Grandmother-in-law, Sarah, and has Jacob sleep with and marry her maidservant Bilhah. So Bilhah pops out two kids, all the while Leah has stopped having children and figures, “If Rachel can do it through her maidservant, so can I!” and gives Jacob Zilpah to sleep with and marry.

We even get to the point where the two women are trading herbs and spices for who gets to sleep with their husband!

If that doesn’t spell trouble, I don’t know what else does! So, if you are ever asked why the Bible doesn’t teach against polygamy…you have a good go to answer now…IT DOES! STAY AWAY FROM IT!

Amid all of this though, we see the glimmer of something (or Someone). This family is the very definition of dysfunctional. In fact, the character of Jacob is an extremely hard one to talk about from a Christian moralist standpoint.

Here’s the thing with Jacob and his family: they don’t do ANYTHING right! Morally, they are skunks…they stink! Their family is messed up beyond belief. Jacob is a liar and a schemer (you don’t want to buy a used car off of this guy) and it seems to rub off on his family with his wives. Leah is shady in her dealings with Rachel (not to mention these two sisters poor maidservants!) and Rachel steals a bunch of stuff from her father before Jacob decides to (shadily) quit his job and get out of dodge in the middle of the night.

It is so easy to look at these people and think, “Why in the world would God bless people like this?” World renowned theologians have struggled with this for ages. Why would God used such a messed up man like Jacob? Why does God seem to reward Jacob for his deceitfulness?

But let’s turn that question back on ourselves.

And there you have it. Our old friend. THE GOSPEL MESSAGE.

I’m going to go back to the quote from Timothy Keller because it is SO true: “The Gospel says you are more sinful and flawed than you ever dared believe, but more accepted and loved than you ever dared hope.”

God used Jacob and birthed an entire nation (in a pretty messed up way) from him for the same reason He uses us: because HE is good and HE is love. WE are broken. WE are messed up. WE are all Jacob and Leah and Rachel.

Jesus Christ, on the other hand, dealt with the same things – HE took a bride (the Church) that no one wanted. HE watched His spouse turn to another and give all of their love away. HE experienced the ultimate shame – and instead of lashing out and finding his own ways to get back at those who had wronged Him, He forgave completely.

Have you experienced that kind of love from the Savior? You can!

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