Each week we webcast Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, morning public worship at 11a, and p.m. singing and sermon at 2:30p (sermon at 3:30)

Monday, July 6, 2020

2020.07.06 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 29:13–30

Questions from the Scripture text: What had Laban heard (Genesis 29:13)? What did he do? Who else told him everything? What did Laban say to this in Genesis 29:14 (cf. Genesis 2:23)? How long had he stayed with him in Genesis 29:15? What does Laban ask for in verse 15? What did Laban have in Genesis 29:16? Who had the soft eyes (Genesis 29:17a)? Who had the pretty form and face (verse 17b)? Which one did Jacob love (Genesis 29:18a)? What does he propose (verse 18b)? What does Laban say, exactly, in Genesis 29:19? What did Jacob do for how long and why (Genesis 29:20)? What did Jacob ask for in Genesis 29:21? What does Laban do in Genesis 29:22? But whom did Laban give him in Genesis 29:23? And whom did Laban give to her (Genesis 29:24)? When did Jacob discover the switch (Genesis 29:25)? What does he do about it? What did Laban explain in Genesis 29:26? What does he propose in Genesis 29:27? What does Jacob do about it (Genesis 29:28)? With what result? Whom did Laban give to Rachel (Genesis 29:29)? What was the result in Jacob’s marriage(s) (Genesis 29:30)? What was the result in his employment?
The focus on Jacob’s forthcoming marriage is certainly coming into view now. Not only have we grown accustomed to hearing “Laban, his mother’s brother”; but now, in Genesis 29:13, Jacob is identified as “Jacob, his sister’s son.” He gives Jacob the family-greeting kiss (without spontaneously combusting into tears), hears the story of the journey (verse 13b, perhaps with a bit about his matrimonial quest), and uses a line from the first love song ever to affirm his prospective approval (Genesis 29:14, cf. Genesis 2:23).

It seems, in fact, that Laban is pretty keen to get Leah married off. Before the Scripture contrasts Leah’s tender eyes with Rachel’s form and face (Genesis 29:17), it tells us that after a month Laban was tired of waiting and ready to get the ball rolling (Genesis 29:15); he has two daughters, after all (Genesis 29:16).

By the end of the passage, we (probably correctly) suspect that Laban was going to see to it that this negotiation was going to end up with Leah in Jacob’s arms, however Laban had to make that happen (Genesis 29:23Genesis 29:26).  What he probably hadn’t calculated—but ever so gladly approved—was the kind of bargain that he would get in the process. seven years of labor (Genesis 29:18)! This is a huge sum, but Laban the shrewd negotiator passes it off as tolerable by comparison to other options, while employing a studied non-specificity about Jacob’s actual remuneration (Genesis 29:19).

Jacob seems rather ill-prepared to deal with Laban’s calculations, because Jacob’s calculation capacity is entirely out of service (Genesis 29:20). For Jacob, a thousand years was as a day. But the day eventually comes, and Laban makes sure that they jump in, feast-first (wedding second). This way, Jacob is sufficiently incapacitated to close the deal with the wrong daughter, despite the buildup of seven years of infatuation. How could Jacob be so far gone? Did he relate to her at all? Love her at all (cf. Genesis 24:67)? How had this gone down between Laban and Leah? What was she thinking? The Scripture leaves so many of our obvious questions unanswered, so that we will be left only with. THIS IS MESSED UP.

And, that’s probably the point. We might wish that the Holy Spirit had given us more information to be analyzed, but it’s pretty clear that His divine intention for us is rather that we would be scandalized. That our primary takeaway would be, “this is messed up.” Laban is determined to get Leah married, even if it costs her happiness, her morality, (and, ultimately, Rachel’s as well). Jacob is determined to get Rachel for himself, even if it costs everyone (except maybe Laban) their happiness and morality.

But the question is: what is God determined to do? On the one hand, He is determined to expose the heinousness of sin. But, on the other hand, He is determined to keep His promises, establish a family on the earth, and by that family to come in the Person of His Son and save such sinners from all  of the families of the earth!

For, Laban and Jacob (and Leah and Rachel) are not the only ones seeking marriages in this text and in these events. The Lord Jesus is seeking for Himself a bride. Not one that has tender eyes, but one who has her beginning as a miserable wretch, sold as a slave to sin. One who is ugly of form and face and eyes and soul. But whom He is absolutely determined to love. For whom He is absolutely determined to give not merely 7 years of labor but the humiliation of the incarnation and the infinite misery of the cross. Whom He is absolutely determined not only to purchase as the queen of heaven, but then to transform into His own glorious likeness so that her queenly glory will be evident to all!

This is why the Lord Jesus has not yet returned (2 Peter 3:4–13). Because Christ’s longsuffering insists that every last member of His bride will be brought to Him and transformed in Him (2 Peter 3:9b), a thousand years is as a day for Him (2 Peter 3:8b) for the sake of His beloved (2 Peter 3:8a).

Those who see this love, and this Lover, do not thereby say “my sin is no big deal.” Instead, they say, “if that is the final aim of the One who has loved me so, then I shall give my all to join Him in straining forward to that—He has died for me, so let me live for Him!
In what ways are you messed up with sin? What has Christ done anyway? What is He doing now? 
Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH503 “From Depths of Woe”

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