February 5, 2024

How Do You Marry the Wrong Woman

Genesis 29:25 And in the morning, behold, it was Leah!

Imagine waking up the morning after your wedding night and discovering someone other than the love of your life was lying next to you—wild stuff. Now imagine learning your new father-in-law was behind the most elaborate prank since, well, since the time you pranked your own father and brother. You reap what you sow.

Author
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Sarah Blount

Lead Pastor

Jacob must have felt like a fool. How could he have not known that he was marrying the wrong woman? After all, he fell hard and fast for Rachel and had spent the last seven years working for her father, Laban, to marry her. Leah, the older, possibly less physically attractive sister, was not on Jacob's radar. He was working, sweating, and dreaming of only Rachel for some two thousand and fifty-five days.

When did the bait and switch take place? Where was Rachel during all of this? Was Leah compliant, or was this forced upon her? We aren't sure, but we know that Laban delivers Leah to Jacob's honeymoon suite at some point in the evening, and honeymoon activities ensue. And it wasn't until morning light that Jacob realized he had been tricked.

Scholars offer several reasons why Jacob had no idea he was with the wrong woman.
Perhaps he had too much to drink at the feast Laban prepared, thus impairing his judgment. I can easily picture Laban ordering his servants to keep the groom's cup running over all evening.

Scripture says, "This came to pass in the evening," eluding to the fact that Jacob's tent would have been very dark- making it hard for him to see.

Furthermore, in that culture, a bride customarily entered her husband's presence "veiled." Gerhard von Rad wrote "heavily veiled," and Aalders "completely veiled." (Dr Constable's Notes on Genesis)

Jacob and Rachel probably had not spent much time together, and if Leah had been commanded to stay silent and hidden until morning, you can see how this wouldn't have been all that difficult for Laban to pull off.

Jacob and Leah must now face the customary week-long wedding celebrations together. How dreadful and awkward for them both. Following their week-long celebration is another honeymoon night- this time with Rachel. And another seven years of labor is owed by Jacob to Laban.

I used to think this was a lovely story about how true love waits. But now I can't help but see it's more about how prayer-less decisions cost.

In Genesis 24, which happens to be the longest chapter in Genesis, Abraham sends his most trusted servant to search for a wife for Isaac from among his kinfolk. We are provided with details that allow us to see how the servant invites God into every aspect of this mission-critical assignment. He prays. He observes Rebekah silently to listen and learn God's heart concerning the young woman watering his camels. He Worships the Lord and declares that the Lord has led his way to Rebekah!

Jacob has a very different approach than that of his grandpa's servant. Genesis 29 never mentions Jacob in prayer, worship, practicing silence, listening, or learning! Instead, we find Jacob flexing, running his mouth, and abruptly laying one on Rachel. Letting his eyes and emotions lead the way.

The absence of prayer and seeking divine guidance is pretty apparent. Instead of discerning God's plans and purposes, Jacob runs ahead with what looks best to him in the natural.

Interestingly, the Lord closed Rachel's womb for a time. God’s obvious choice for Jacob was Leah all along. Leah was the one who would mother the two greatest tribes in Israel. Levi, the priestly tribe, and Judah, the royal tribe from which the Messiah would spring forth.
Jacob may have planned his course, but the Lord intended for him to have Leah. His son Joseph would later say about his brothers who sold him into slavery, "You meant evil against me, but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive."

Laban meant evil against his new son-in-law, and Jacob made some prayer-less decisions that cost him, but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass a lion from the tribe of Judah that would save many people alive!

This story reminds us to pray about everything. We must listen, discern, and invite God into our decision-making process. Just because something looks good on paper and seems to stir excitement and beautiful emotions doesn't mean it is God's plan.

Charles Spurgeon famously said, "Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right."
Do you want what is right in the sight of God? Invite the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you as you make decisions concerning your future. Sometimes, you will still miss it and make the wrong decisions, and that's okay because the purposes of the Lord stand and he can make all things work together for good!

Isaiah 46:10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, 'My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’
Pray, listen in silence, and worship the Lord today!


Resources:
Be Authentic Genesis Commentary by Warren Wiersbe
Enduring Word Genesis Commentary by David Guzik
Dr Constable's Expository Bible Study Notes (edited)

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