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Genesis 29:15-35, Jacob Marries Laban’s Daughters

Lean on God

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

Did you notice, as Leah was conceiving and giving birth to babies, how she responded to each pregnancy? She knew Jacob loved her sister, Rachel (his second wife) more than her, and she longed for his affection. When the first child was conceived, she thought, "Surely now my husband will love me." After the second, "Because the Lord has heard that I am hated." After the third, "Now this time my husband will be joined to me." Each time, Jacob refused to show her the affection and attention she needed. Each time, she continued to crave it. But look what happens with the birth of the fourth child. "This time I will praise the Lord."

It wasn't until Leah made the switch in her head from wanting and needing Jacob to wanting and needing God that she stopped conceiving. It was almost as if God knew she needed to go through the process of desire, longing, and grief, and when she finally let go, she was complete.

Sometimes we have to learn to let go of the things we think we want -- things that are not good for us. For Leah it was with the delivering of her children that she clung to the desire to be loved by Jacob. For us, there might be things that continue to happen until we finally learn to let go. What are you holding on to that is holding you back? What are you relying on to see you through your unfulfilled desire? Consider the power of loving God first and foremost. How little we need anything else when we finally learn to lean on God!

Narrative Lectionary Text: Genesis 29:15-35

Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?” Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were lovely, and Rachel was graceful and beautiful. Jacob loved Rachel; so 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. 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 maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her maid.) When morning came, 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, “This is not done in our country—giving 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.” Jacob did so, and completed her week; then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as a wife. (Laban gave his maid Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her maid.) So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah. He served Laban for another seven years.

When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, he opened her womb; but Rachel was barren. Leah conceived and bore a son, and she named him Reuben; for she said, “Because the Lord has looked on my affliction; surely now my husband will love me.” She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also”; and she named him Simeon. Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be joined to me, because I have borne him three sons”; therefore he was named Levi. She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord”; therefore she named him Judah; then she ceased bearing.

Earlier Event: September 28
Genesis 29:1-14, Jacob Meets Rachel
Later Event: September 30
Genesis 30:1-24, Rachel’s Jealousy