It started off like any other Saturday. Hubby at the hog barns. Kids asking for pancakes. Sweat pants, stained favorite hoodie, and refilled cup of coffee all doin’ their thing. (Bliss.) Until one conversation quickly lead to another and I found myself staring at my overly confident 9 year old NFL star, while he adamantly proclaimed, “Certain sins will never befall me!”
Devotional Scripture: Genesis 29:1-30
Key Verse: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” Galatians 6:7
Ok maybe he didn’t use the word befall. And maybe I don’t remember his exact words. Quite possibly because I was too busy sucking in air! But oh my stars son…do you really believe that?
My children may stink at making their beds and might be terrible at picking up after themselves but by golly they are going to learn humility! And have a fierce understanding of the need to guard their heart because it does not take much to wander! So yes (if you’re wondering) right then and there I absolutely bulldozed my way through explanations of pride and humility while flipping pancakes.
And yes as a matter of fact I did end with the story of God humbling a very prideful King Nebuchadnezzar by making him dwell with the beasts of the field and eat grass like an ox while his hair grew long like an eagles (Dan. 4:33). I did. I seriously did. You should have seen their faces. I’m pretty sure my children now think if they don’t learn this humility thing God’s gonna turn them into an animal. And yes we’re leaving it that way. For awhile at least. (You’re welcome for the parenting advice.)
But seriously, pride is a huge problem! Is it not the original sin? And does it not raise its ugly head in every single one of us? You bet it does! Causing severe unnecessary heartache for those who do not stifle it. Especially Jacob! Who was now eagerly anticipating God’s blessing on his life. Arriving at a well (not knowing exactly where he was) he dialogued with a few shepherds. Who told him yes we’re from Haran and yes we know your uncle and yes he is well and look here comes his daughter Rachel. (Bliss!)
Just as God brought his mother to a well upon the arrival of Abraham’s servant, He now brought forth the beautiful Rachel. Indeed God is goo-oo-ood! Feeling a burst of excitement, because of his obviously God ordained good fortune, Jacob rolled the stone off the well ALL BY HIMSELF. (A stone the shepherds usually had to remove together.) Then proceeded to water Rachel’s flock first.
You probably know the story. Smitten with Rachel Jacob offered to work seven years for her hand in marriage. But when the wedding night came Laban sent weak-eyed Leah in to consummate the marriage instead; deceiving Jacob into marrying the older daughter. Upon waking next to the wrong woman, Jacob confronted Laban, who conceided to give Rachel to him as well for another seven years of service.
Now I know it was dark and there was a wedding veil and probably some alcohol, but still I have to ask: How in the world do you make love to the wrong person and not realize it? Furthermore, how did Laban keep Rachel away? Did he tie her up? And when did Laban enlighten Leah as to the plan? Surprise it’s your wedding day! All places my mind wants to go. But I digress…
It’s evident Jacob got a taste of his own medicine. The Bible makes it clear God will not be mocked, we will reap what we sow (Gal. 6:7). I see it every spring. When we plant corn, corn comes up. When we plant beans, beans come up. Jacob deceived his father with clothing and darkness (blindness) over an older/younger matter. So now Jacob was deceived by clothing (a bridal veil) and darkness over an older/younger matter. Dear friend we would be wise to pay attention to what we are sowing!
But I think there is something else we need to be sure and not miss. A lesson of grave importance, rooted in pride. When Jacob arrived in Haran he may have quickly encountered Rachel, but that didn’t mean Rachael was God’s will. In his pride Jacob presumed, but never prayed. Not about Rachel. Not about the bride price. Not about Leah.
What if Jacob had prayed at the well. What if he’d prayed before naming his wages. What if he’d humbled himself in the bridal chamber and sought the forgiveness of a God that won’t be mocked. God says if my people will humble themselves and pray…I will heal (2 Chron. 7:14).
I can’t help but wonder how the story may have been different. Yes, God used both Leah and Rachel to birth the twelve tribes of Israel, along with their personal servants. But that doesn’t mean He approved of Jacob’s polygamy. It was through Leah, not Rachel, whom God brought forth the line of David and ultimately the Messiah, along with the Levites. And it was Leah, not Rachel, who was buried in the cave at Machpelah with her husband Jacob.
If only he’d prayed….if only we’d pray. And not just any prayer. But one of honest submission to a faithful Father. The kind of prayer that says thy will, in thy way and thy timing. Not the kind that says bless me and my day and my endeavors.
Humility does more than just keep us modest. It keeps us on our knees. It guards against unnecessary heartache. And propels us in God’s direction. If only, God’s people, would humble themselves and pray…
Contemplate and Evaluate:
In what area of your life have you been assuming God’s will instead of praying God’s will?
Can you think of a time you made an important decision without praying? What was the result?
How does humility help guard us against making decisions we might otherwise regret?