Tricking the Trickster

Tricking the Trickster

Genesis 29:25 – 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?”

In yesterday’s devo, we read how Jacob finally arrived at his uncle Laban’s house, seemingly free and safe from the hands of his angry brother, Esau. He had just had an encounter with God while on the way and it seemed like things were looking up him. Jacob had been working for seven years based on the promise that, if he did, he could marry Laban’s daughter, Rachel, the younger, more beautiful of two daughters.

Finally, Jacob got to marry Rachel. But, apparently Jacob had more than a few drinks in him, the face of his bride was covered during the wedding, and the candles were snuffed out in their bridal chambers that night because, when Jacob rolled over to gaze into the eyes of his lovely wife, he was staring into the eyes of Leah instead of Rachel.

Laban tricked the trickster and married off his oldest daughter. When Jacob confronted Laban for doing to him exactly what Jacob had done to Esau, his uncle simply stated that it was customary for the oldest child to be provided for before the younger. Laban’s reasoning was true, even though his actions were wicked. And, in bitter irony, the godless Laban was in fact acting godlier than Jacob, who ended up in Laban’s household because he robbed his brother of the rights of the firstborn. In this, we see that God did not look favorably on Jacob’s deceitful actions and sought to teach him a lesson through 14 years of hard work.

Jacob loved Rachel so much that he worked another seven years for her father Laban to earn her hand in marriage. Jacob finally married Rachel after 14 years of waiting and loved her more than her sister Leah. This sad truth will lead to many great troubles in the coming scenes of Genesis as the struggle between Jacob and Esau is echoed in the struggle between Rachel and Leah, as well as their sons.

Laban serves as a tragic example of a controlling parent of adult children. He is so determined to have Leah married first, and enrich his own estate, that he sets up an abusive family legacy with horrible division and competition, as we will learn in the ensuing chapters of this tragic family tale.

Even though Laban is ungodly and cruel, how is God using Laban, who is much like Jacob, to change Jacob’s character? How has God used some bad people doing bad things to help grow good character in you?

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Mark Driscoll
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