Jacob - a lesson in struggling...
The new year means the start of a new book, so I'm beginning research for the third book in The Wives of the Patriarchs series. Sarai releases March 1 (less than two months!) and could be in stores a bit earlier (hoping!). So I'm also gearing up to do some promotion for this first book in a new series. Rebekah is on my editor's desk awaiting it's first read. But while I wait for edits and promotional interviews, I've been spending time reading about Jacob, Rachel, and Leah. Who were they? What did they want most? What struggles did they face?
While I still have much to ponder, I've been thinking about Jacob, who is the husband of both of these matriarchs of Israel. If you read his story in Scripture, you find that he was not a man who knew peace, like his father, Isaac. From the womb he wrestled with his twin brother. And he spent the rest of his life wrestling for the birthright (that God promised to him through his mother before he was born), for the patriarchal blessing, for the woman he loved, with the wife he hated, over the rash actions of her sons, over the rape of his daughter, for his livelihood, for a heavenly blessing straight from God, and over the loss of his favorite wife and later his favorite son.
Deceit and treachery marked his every step, and whatever he gained was not without struggle. Some people just learn the hard way, and Jacob appears to be one of them. How interesting that the deceiver is also the one deceived. We reap what we sow.
Was Jacob destined to make the choices he made? What if he had not deceived his brother and later his father for the birthright and blessing? God had promised both to him before his birth. How different the story might have been if he had waited on God to work things out. As the saying goes, "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive." Jacob's whole life is one of the most tangled webs in Scripture.
If nothing else, Jacob is a lesson in how not to act. But then, not every deception was his. His Uncle Laban was a master at lying, and his daughters (Jacob's two wives) probably had learned a thing or two from him.
After many years of earthly struggling, Jacob had an angelic visitor and wrestled with the man all night long. The result was a limp he never lost, and a lesson in surrender and trust that he sorely needed. In truth, those lessons in surrender and trust are ours as well. If we will heed them...