Tuesday, July 5, 2011

When Things Aren't What They Seem To Be

                                                                


Jacob had met the girl of his dreams.  He loved Rachel so much.   She loved him back, too.  He had met her when he had began to work for her father, Laban.  He had fallen in love with that shepherd girl at first sight. Isaac had grown so fond of her whole family.  Rachel had an older sister named Leah.  Poor Leah would have a hard time ever finding a husband.  She was anything but beautiful.  She had what they called 'weak eyes'.  It must have been a birth defect...they didn't look like everyone else's eyes.  It definitely had an effect on her looks.  It made him shudder to think of it. 
But all he had to do was look at his lovely Rachel.  She took his breath away with her beauty.  He had undertook a contract with Laban.  He would work hard for him for a total of seven years.  His payment would be his beautiful Rachel for a wife.  He could hardly wait!  The wedding was finally here!!
Jacob's stomach began to jump as he saw his beloved being brought in next to him.  Her eyes were downcast and her face draped in soft silk scarves. 
The two of them listened carefully to the rabbi, as he went through the ceremony.  Jacob could hardly bring himself to look over at Rachel.  In order to steady his nerves, he concentrated on the teacher, before them.
After they were pronounced man and wife, Jacob's heart leapt for joy!  As was the custom, the father of the bride was the one to deliver the bride to her husband on the wedding night.
The next morning, to Jacob's dismay, he found that he had not married Rachel, as he had thought...it was her sister Leah!
He ran to Laban and demanded he be told why he was deceived.  Laban told Jacob that in his country, the youngest sister could not be married before the oldest.  He told Jacob to go on his honeymoon, and then when he returned, he would be given Rachel as a bride, also...but he was obligated to work for him for seven additional years.  Jacob agreed, so as to be able to marry the woman he truly loved.
(Story found in Genesis 29)

I can just imagine the horror in Jacob's heart, when he realized that it was not Rachel that he had truly married.  he had trusted Laban to be true to his word...and he was not.  Now Jacob had to pay the price for somone else's deception. Jacob was not a stranger to deceit.  With his mother's help, he had tricked his father, Isaac into giving him the family birthright...instead of his older twin, Esau.  He no doubt, remembered what it was like to be the wrongdoer...the sinner.

So what did Jacob do?  He paid the price and moved on.  He continued to do what he was asked to do.  He could have said, "Forget it!" and left town.  He could have reacted with violence.  He could have schemed retaliation against Laban.  But he didn't.  He just kept going forward and did as he was asked.  Was it fair?  No.  Did he look foolish in the eyes of others?  Perhaps.  But Jacob didn't focus on these things.  He let his driving force be love.  The love he felt for Rachel.

What do we do when we have been deceived...when someone pulls the rug out from under you, and lies to you?  There are many ways we could handle it.  We could act in retaliation.  We could plot and scheme to 'get them' for what they've done.  We could, depending on how hurtful the deception is, withdraw and not let anyone close to us again, to prevent future hurts.  Or we could respond as Jacob did...with love.
Now that's not to say Jacob acted perfectly.  He did treat Leah different from Rachel.  He showed Rachel more love and concern than he did Leah.  He may have harbored deep resentment toward her for years.  But he tried. He focused on the positive part of the situation.  He had his beloved Rachel.

As a result, God  entrusted Jacob to be the father of the twelve tribes of Israel.  That would have never happened if Jacob had wiped his hands of the whole matter and ran away. Despite his many sins and failures, God blessed him.

When you have been lied to, or deceived  take heart.  Not if...but when.  It is inevitable that it will happen at some point, if you have any connection with the human race.  Remember that you yourself are a sinner.  Forgive that person.  If you hold onto the resenment, it will only wound you further.  Does that mean that you let that person, or others walk all over you?  No.  You stand up for yourself and do what is necessary.  It may take a little bit of 'tough love'.  But try hard to let love be the motivating force behind your actions.  It won't be easy, but God calls us to do so.   If we are acting on our own, it is impossible. Yet, if it were impossible, He would not tell us to do it.  That's why we need the Spirit's help.

It may take a long time to recover from the betrayal.  Take it day by day...minute by minute if necessary.  That's ok.  Keep trying.  You will win out in the end.

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