Day 40: “Give me children, or I shall die!”

Read Genesis 29:31-30:24

This story is almost funny in a sad kind of way.

Jacob isn’t alone anymore. His wives fight like dogs over a bone and he’s the bone.

I don’t know if you kept count but the total number of babies here is 12: eleven sons and one daughter.

What is important to remember is that long ago, God made a promise to Jacob’s grandfather Abraham. The promise was that Abraham would have many descendants, as many as there are stars in the sky. But then God eliminated Ishmael from that promise, and counted only Isaac. So, really, Abraham had one descendant. Isaac also had two sons, but only one – Jacob – was counted by God for the promise.

At this rate, the promise will be a long time coming.

But now here’s Jacob with his competing wives.

What I wonder is, amid all the jealousy and fighting, does Jacob ever think about that promise? God had renewed it to him personally at Bethel, “Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth” (28:14). Could he possibly have imagined, when he heard it from God, that it would look like this? Was he able to recognize it when it came, given that it came with such turmoil and conflict?

In Jacob’s life we can see that God is still writing the story whether or not the people in it are able to understand, whether or not they can see Him doing it.

But He wants us to see.

He wants us to learn to see. Why else did he visit Jacob at Bethel and show him the reality of heaven and renew the promise to him? He wants Jacob to think about him, to think about his own life in a bigger context, the context of God doing a great thing: “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring” (28:14).

Learning to see God’s story through the tangle of our lives – that’s faith.

Jacob’s life was difficult: he had Laban on his back, his wives in his face, and his own family hated him. What difference do you think it would make to him if he was able to see God in it all, and to believe that God was not finished with him, but was doing something great?

What difference would it make to you?

2 thoughts on “Day 40: “Give me children, or I shall die!”

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