Devotional & Reflection

Week 2, Nov 2003

Gen 29:15-25 : God's Grace
By Pang Hee Hung, Katartizo Resources Ltd

Gen 29: v15 Laban said to him, "Just because you are a relative of mine, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be." v18 Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, "I'll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel." v20 So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her. v21 Then Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife. My time is completed, and I want to lie with her." v22 So Laban brought together all the people of the place and gave a feast. v23 But when evening came, he took his daughter Leah and gave her to Jacob, and Jacob lay with her. v25 When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn't I? Why have you deceived me?""

Have you ever noticed the tales spun by people as they fall into sin? It seems so natural to cover up a sin, that one spins a web of deception. Although a deceiver deceives others, he is deluded when he thinks that all dirt can be swept under the carpet. Many past sins will only return to haunt the deceiver if he doesn't face up to the truth as a number of prominent corporate executives and politicians have found out. Only the truth can set us free (Jn 8:32) – freedom from sin, freedom from further deception and freedom to be truly human with no need to spin more tales.

In an earlier episode, Jacob usurped the blessings of Esau through a web of deception. But later in chapter 29, Jacob was himself deceived. Laban had switched the older Leah for the younger Rachel. Talk about justice.

Yet that was not all. A series of family feuds, rivalry and deception was to follow Jacob’s entire life. He had to work a total of 14 years to marry Rachel instead of seven (Gen 29:27). And notice what he had to live with – the contentious rivalry between his two wives – the two sisters Leah and Rachel. They tried to outdo each other by giving birth to more children and even got their maidservants involved in their rivalry (Gen 29-30). Rachel would even trade a night with her husband, Jacob, for the mandrakes of Leah son's (Gen 30:15). Years later, there was also his sons’ rivalry that led to an attempted murder of Joseph who was Jacob’s favourite and the brothers’ attempt to cover their guilt. These just sound all too familiar.

Through all these eventful moments, God is merciful and still works out His promise and plan. When we get what we deserve, it is justice. It is discipline. When we don't get what we deserve, it is mercy. But when we get more than what we deserve, it is God's grace.

1. How have you been a victim of deception? What was your response and how could you respond better?
2. How have you deceived others? What impact did it make to you and others?
3. What can we marvel at – God's justice, mercy, grace ?

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