The God of Possible

(Genesis 30:22-24)



“I was surprised to read a Facebook posting from a friend in South Dakota named Diane. She wrote, ‘Had a nice surprise last night. At about 10:30 p.m. the phone rang. It was Governor Mike Rounds checking in with us to see how the road repair was going.’ There had been a lot of flooding in the area where Diane lives, and the roads were a mess—and the governor actually called her to see how she felt about the repair progress.


When I wrote Diane to express my surprise, she said it wasn't the first time a governor had called her. Another time, some years ago, one of South Dakota's previous governors called about some FEMA money for the area. She told me that when the governor called she was in the middle of a home perm, but couldn't very well tell the governor to hold while she rinsed her hair. She added: ‘That frizzy hair haunted me for weeks.’


I know that South Dakota is a small state, but this was incredible to me. I asked Diane if she was in county government or something, and she said she wasn't. Sensing I was blown away by her interactions with the government, she had this to say: ‘I have found that shaking the tree from the top gets the fastest results. When there is a problem, I usually become the ‘squeaky wheel,’ and I think they just want to get me off their case!’


My conversation with Diane made me think of the parable Jesus told in Luke 18:1-8—the one about the persistent widow and the judge who finally relented and granted her request. Jesus concluded: ‘And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?’


The issue isn't whether God cares or is listening. The issue is whether we have faith enough to persist in ‘shaking the tree.’”





  • ME

    • Praying about the tax debt

        • My prayer about the tax debt has been that God would miraculously and supernaturally provide a large lump sum that would eliminate the entire tax debt

        • God has answered that prayer in several ways

          • He recently provided $28,000 in three weeks toward the tax debt in three smaller lump sums

          • He has been providing each month through the rental of the other parsonage and the multipurpose room to Monelli Educational Services

          • He has also been providing through consistent giving from individuals within the church

        • Through all of those ways I know that God cares and listens

    • Personal answered prayers

        • Judy and I know that God cares and listens

        • We had complications with our last two pregnancies

          • We fervently prayed for those pregnancies

          • We saw God answer in miraculous ways to allow us to have our second and third sons

        • We have experienced God’s care through healings

        • We know that God cares and listens when we have transitioned from one job to another

        • God has shown His love and care to us through providing financially throughout our married lives

        • The Lord has given us wisdom in relationships as we have sought Him through prayer


  • WE

    • Continue asking

        • How many of us have continued to seek the Lord in prayer for something?

        • Many times, we ask and keep on asking for salvation of a loved one (husband, parent, child, grandchild, etc.)

        • At other times we continue to pray about a financial situation

        • Still others get on their knees daily for a job or job related circumstance

        • At times we fall face down in desperation concerning an illness, whether our own, a family member, or a friend

        • We do not stop petitioning God until we hear from Him

    • Answered prayer

        • How many of us know that God cares and He listens?

        • Take a moment to reflect on a recent answer to prayer

          • What were you praying about?

          • How long had you been praying about it?

          • How did God answer your prayer?


Rachel experienced God’s care and knew that He listened to her cries of desperation. ​​ The Lord would open her womb and allow her to conceive. ​​ It would be an answer to her prayers and not human schemes or a magical fruit or root. ​​ She experienced what many of us have experienced, that . . .


BIG IDEA – God cares for us.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Genesis 30:22-24)

    • Remembered (v. 22a)

        • God remembered Rachel

        • This is not the first time that God remembered a human being

          • We see this phrase used for Noah and Abraham in Genesis also

          • Genesis 8:1, But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.

          • Genesis 19:29, So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.

        • PRINCIPLE #1 – God does not forget about His people.

          • He is all-knowing

            • He knew what Noah needed after being cooped up in an ark for long time

            • He knew what Abraham and Lot needed

            • He knew Rachel’s heart and her desire to have her own children

          • God’s timing and purposes are perfect

          • God has not forgotten about you

            • He knows your heart and your desires

            • He knows that you want your spouse, parent, child, grandchild, friend, schoolmate, coworker, etc. to believe in Jesus

            • He knows that you want to be healed from the physical issues you are having

            • He knows that you want your family member or friend to be healed

            • He knows about the financial struggles you are experiencing

            • He knows about the relational tensions that are happening in your family, at school, in your neighborhood, and at work

            • He knows that you want to be married and have a family

            • He knows that you want to have children of your own

            • He knows about your fears, anxiety, and depression that accompany the issues mentioned above

          • Biblical promises/truths

            • Proverbs 18:24, A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

            • Hebrews 13:5-6, Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have; because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” ​​ So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. ​​ What can man do to me?”

            • Isaiah 49:15-16, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has born? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! ​​ See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”

            • 1 Peter 5:10, And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

          • Perhaps you need to be reminded today and claim the truth that God has not forgotten you

            • You have not slipped His mind

            • He is aware of everything you are going through

          • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Find encouragement through the truth that God has not forgotten about me.

            • God cares for you.

            • He knows the struggles you are going through

            • He knows your heart desires

        • God had not forgotten about Rachel and her desire to have a child of her own

        • He had heard her prayers

    • Listened (v. 22b)

        • The fact that God listened to Rachel tells us that she had been crying out to Him

          • “His attentive ear implies that she continued her petitions for a child, resulting in his gracious answer.” ​​ [Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1B, Genesis 11:27-50:26, 490]

          • It is likely that Rachel’s prayer also included a petition that the Lord would remove her disgrace within the community

          • God answered her prayer and opened her womb

          • Rachel had probably been praying for a child from the beginning, which would have been around seven years

        • Application

          • What have you been crying out to the Lord about?

          • How long have you been petitioning Him?

          • Are you beginning to question whether or not He is listening?

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – God hears and answers our prayers.

            • God was listening to Rachel and her prayers and He had the perfect time set aside to answer her prayer

            • Biblical background

              • 1 Peter 3:10-12, For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. ​​ He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. ​​ For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

              • 1 John 5:14-15, This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. ​​ And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.

              • 1 Thessalonians 5:17, pray continually.

              • Isaiah 65:24, Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.

              • Philippians 4:6-7, Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ​​ And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

            • The same is true for you and me – God hears our prayers and has perfect timing in answering them

              • We know that God answers our prayers in three ways: ​​ Yes, No, and Wait

              • Our desire is that He always answers Yes, right away – that is our immediate gratification culture at play

              • We struggle when He answers No or Wait

              • The Lord had been answering Rachel – wait, but eventually He answered yes

              • Maybe the Lord is currently answering your request with wait

              • That does not mean that He has not heard your prayers or has not answered

              • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Have confidence that God hears and answers my prayers, even if His current answer is No or Wait.

              • God cares about you by hearing and answering your prayers.

          • God opened Rachel’s womb at just the right time, in answer to her prayers

          • Notice that the mandrakes she asked for did not have any influence on her infertility – it was God who opened her womb

        • God provided a son for her

    • Provided (vv. 23-24)

        • After God opened her womb, she became pregnant and gave birth to a son

          • God is the One who provided a baby boy for Rachel

          • “There are four keys that God personally holds on to, so that only he can open the door: ​​ rain, food, tomb, and womb (Tg. Neolf.).” ​​ [Goldingay, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament, Pentateuch, Genesis, 476]

          • It was according to His timing and purpose for Rachel

            • Rachel tried to speed up God’s timing by giving her maidservant Bilhah to Jacob

            • Rachel tried to supersede God’s purpose by bargaining with Leah for her son’s mandrakes, hoping that the “magical” fruit and root would reverse the curse of infertility

            • She realizes now that God is her provider

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – God is our provider!

            • We have to be careful that we do not try to run ahead of God and His timing

            • We also have to make sure we do not try to supersede God’s plan and purpose by using other people and things to accomplish our desires

            • We need to patiently and faithfully wait for God to provide according to His timing and purpose

            • When He provides, we know it will be good

            • Biblical background

              • Philippians 4:19, And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

              • James 1:17, Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

              • Matthew 6:31-33, So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” ​​ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. ​​ But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

            • God cares about you and provides for you

            • You can claim that truth today!

            • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Claim the truth that God is my provider.

          • God had provided a son for Rachel at just the right time and according to His plan and purpose

          • God also answered Rachel’s prayer to eliminate her disgrace

        • Rachel’s disgrace removed

          • Rachel’s response to becoming pregnant was to recognize that God had removed her disgrace and exalted her in His time

          • My guess is that perhaps Rachel needed to learn to rely on God instead of herself, her husband, her maidservant, and some magical plant

          • Maybe when she learned that lesson and God saw growth in her, He opened her womb and allowed her to become pregnant

          • PRINCIPLE #4 – God exalts us in His time.

            • I am certain that no one else struggles with pride, like I do

              • In my humanness, I want to be exalted and looked at with high regard by others (colleagues, friends, family, parishioners, etc.)

              • I want to recognized and praised

              • I know that no one else has those same desires

            • My guess is that most of us struggle with some pride in our lives – wanting to be praised and recognized by colleagues, family, and friends

            • We all need to be reminded that we work and serve for an audience of One

              • Matthew 25:21 & 23, “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! ​​ You have been faithful with a few things; I will put in charge of many things. ​​ Come and share your master’s happiness!’”

              • Colossians 3:23-24, Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. ​​ It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

            • God will exalt us in His time, so we need to faithfully serve Him where we are

            • Through that we will know that God cares for us

          • Rachel names her son, Joseph

        • Joseph

          • His name means, “Jehovah has added”

          • Rachel is hopeful in naming her Joseph, that the Lord allow her to have another son


  • YOU

    • Be encouraged today that God has not forgotten you, because He cares for you

    • You can have confidence that God hears and answers your prayers

    • Know that God is your provider

    • God is the One who exalts you in His time


  • WE

    • God has not forgotten about Idaville Church

    • He answers our prayers

    • He provides for us

    • He will exalt us in His time



“Author and speaker Brennan Manning has an amazing story about how he got the name ‘Brennan.’ While growing up, his best friend was Ray. The two of them did everything together: bought a car together as teenagers, double-dated together, went to school together and so forth. They even enlisted in the Army together, went to boot camp together and fought on the frontlines together. One night while sitting in a foxhole, Brennan was reminiscing about the old days in Brooklyn while Ray listened and ate a chocolate bar. Suddenly a live grenade came into the foxhole. Ray looked at Brennan, smiled, dropped his chocolate bar and threw himself on the live grenade. It exploded, killing Ray, but Brennan's life was spared.


When Brennan became a priest he was instructed to take on the name of a saint. He thought of his friend, Ray Brennan. So he took on the name ‘Brennan.’ Years later he went to visit Ray's mother in Brooklyn. They sat up late one night having tea when Brennan asked her, ‘Do you think Ray loved me?’ Mrs. Brennan got up off the couch, shook her finger in front of Brennan's face and shouted, ‘What more could he have done for you?’ Brennan said that at that moment he experienced an epiphany. He imagined himself standing before the cross of Jesus wondering, Does God really love me? And Jesus' mother Mary pointing to her son, saying, ‘What more could he have done for you?’


The cross of Jesus is God's way of doing all he could do for us. And yet we often wonder, Does God really love me? Am I important to God? Does God care about me?


Source: Adapted from James Bryan Smith, The Good and Beautiful God (IVP, 2009), p. 142.



God cares about you!

  • Gospel

    • John 3:16

    • Romans 3:23

    • Romans 6:23

    • Romans 5:8

    • John 1:12

  • Next Step: ​​ Receive Jesus and believe in Him and become a child of God




“Superstition Ain’t The Way”

(Genesis 30:14-21)



There are all kinds of wives tales or folk wisdom concerning what a couple needs to do or eat while they are trying to conceive a child in order to guarantee that it will be a boy or girl. lists some of the folk wisdom about this.


If you want a boy…

  • Eat more meat – the redder the better

  • Stick with salty snacks, such as pretzels and chips

  • Dads-to-be: ​​ stock up on soda, especially cola drinks


If you want a girl…

  • Both partners should eat lots of fish and veggies

  • Give in to your chocolate craving, or just sweets in general


Women should sleep to the left of their husbands


Mark your calendars: ​​ more boys are conceived on odd days of the month and more girls are conceived on even days of the month.


Hairline of your last child: ​​ if the hairline at the base of the neck of your last child is a ducktail, your next baby will be a girl. ​​ If it is straight across, it will be a boy.


There are many more wives’ tales and folk wisdom surrounding how to help determine the sex of your next baby.





  • ME

    • Three boys

        • We have three boys and no girls

        • I wish I could remember if we ate more red meat

        • I have always loved snacking on pretzels

        • I do not drink very much soda, and if I do drink soda, it is not normally the cola kind, because it has caffeine

        • I do not remember if our boys were conceived on an odd day of the month

        • I don’t remember what our two oldest boys hairlines looked like, but our youngest has a ducktail, so perhaps if we had tried for one more child, we might have gotten a girl

    • Faith in God

        • I do not subscribe to the wives’ tales or folk wisdom about the gender of a baby

        • In fact, with our first two children we did not find out their sex until after they were born

        • I liked the surprise factor

        • We did find out the sex of our third child before his birth

        • We trusted the Lord to provide the children that were best for us

        • He knew that my brother, and our only other male cousin with the last name Johns, would only have daughters

        • There is no pressure, but our three boys are the last Johns’ in our line

        • Of our three grandchildren, we have one grandson now, who will carry on the family name

        • We are hopeful for more grandchildren in the future – whether boys or girls (if you are listening boys, hint, hint!)


  • WE

    • Rhetorical question

        • How many of us have heard of some of these wives’ tales or folk wisdom?

        • How many of us have tried one or more of them when we were conceiving children?

        • How did it work out?

    • Faith in God

        • How many of us waited until our children were born to find out whether they were a boy or a girl?

        • How many of us are grateful that God knew how many children we could handle and what gender they were?


Rachel and Leah continue to compete with each other and are now turning to “love apples” to help with their infertility issues. ​​ They have tried human schemes by giving their maidservants to Jacob as additional wives and now they are trying superstition and legend concerning the properties of the fruit and root of a certain plant. ​​ What we will see in this message and the next one is that God is in control of the timing of when couples have children. ​​ We can try all kinds of things, from human schemes, bargaining and manipulation, to wives’ tales, and much more, but . . .


BIG IDEA – Faith in God supersedes everything.


Let’s pray

  • GOD (Genesis 30:14-21)

    • Time stamp (v. 14a)

        • The wheat harvest would have been around March or April

        • Laban was not only a shepherd, but also a farmer – he was diversified in what he did for a living

    • Bagged (v. 14b-c)

        • Reuben

          • If you recall, Reuben is Jacob’s firstborn son

          • He is probably between seven to nine years old

          • We are not told if he is working in the fields with the other farmers at this point

          • Perhaps he was just hanging out with the farmers and looking around for something to do

          • He obviously knew what a mandrake was and my guess is that he knew something of the plants importance and value, which is why he brings it back to his mother (Leah)

        • Mandrakes

          • It is likely that Reuben brought the entire plant(s) back with him, because the fruit and the root were both used

          • “The plant exhibits long, dark green leaves in a rosette pattern; from the center of the leaves are flower stalks that each produce a ‘purple, bluish, or greenish-white flower.’ ​​ During the spring the plant produces a yellow-red fruit, likened to a plum in size and shape . . . Especially interesting are its dark roots that resemble the lower torso of a human form, which probably contributed to the mysteries surrounding its magical, sensual powers.” ​​ [Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1B, Genesis 11:27-50:26, 486]

          • The mandrake was believed to be an aphrodisiac that caused sexual desire and encouraged conception [Goldingay, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament, Pentateuch, Genesis, 474]

          • Depending on the culture, the fruit from the mandrake was given a different nickname: ​​ the Greeks called them “love apples,” while the Arabs called them the “devil’s apple.” ​​ [Mathews, 486]

          • Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, beauty, and sex was called ‘Lady of the Mandrake.’” [Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary, 412]

          • There was definitely legend and superstition surrounding this plant and its fruit

          • It was believed that it promoted fertility and both Leah and Rachel were currently dealing with infertility

          • They both realized that having their maid servants act as surrogates was not fulfilling and did not bring true happiness

        • Rachel’s request

          • It seems as though Rachel is coming to Leah in humility and with kindness when she asks for some of Reuben’s mandrakes

          • Rachel is probably aware of the medicinal properties of the root and the fruit and was willing to try anything to reverse the curse of infertility

        • Leah’s response to Rachel’s request shows the continued tension between the sisters

    • Bitter (v. 15a)

        • Leah lashes out by accusing Rachel of taking away her husband

          • It is not that Leah has lost Jacob as her husband, but she realizes that Jacob’s affections are focused primarily on Rachel

          • There seems to be a sense in the text that Jacob is not fulfilling his husbandly duty of sexual intimacy with Leah at this point

          • It is not certain whether Jacob stopped being intimate with Leah because she stopped having children or that Leah stopped having children because Jacob had stopped being intimate with her [Goldingay, 474]

        • Leah wants to know if Rachel is going to take away her sons mandrakes, like she took away her husband

          • If Leah is dealing with infertility, she is hoping that her sons mandrakes will somehow, magically, restore her fertility

          • If Rachel takes her son’s mandrakes, what will that leave for her

          • If Leah is dealing with bitterness about being loved less, then she does not want her sister to stop being infertile

        • Application

          • PRINCIPLE #1 – Turmoil is the result of not depending on the Lord.

            • The turmoil that we see between Leah and Rachel is the result of not having what they want and not depending on the Lord to provide it

            • As was mentioned several weeks ago, Leah wanted the affections of Jacob and Rachel wanted children from Jacob

            • The same is true of us – turmoil is a result of not depending on the Lord

            • When we try to use superstition to accomplish something in our lives, it inevitably results in turmoil

            • When we try to do anything without depending on the Lord for His wisdom, guidance, and help, chaos can ensue, because we will probably approach the situation from a human perspective instead of a godly perspective

            • Think of a time when you tried to resolve an issue without first consulting and depending on the Lord for help

              • I may be different from the rest of you, but when I have tried to resolve an issue or conflict without praying about it first, I usually do or say the wrong thing or act in a way that creates turmoil instead of peace and reconciliation

              • My humanness gets in the way and I fail

              • My assumption is that the same thing has happened to you all too

              • Are you currently dealing with a family situation that is volatile?

              • Perhaps there is a situation at work that is causing you frustration

              • Maybe relationships at school are difficult and chaotic

              • Remember to turn to the Lord, first, and depend on Him for His help, guidance, and wisdom

          • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Depend on the Lord for His wisdom, guidance, and help with a current tumultuous situation.

        • Both women wanted the mandrakes for their “magical” properties in helping to deal with infertility

        • Faith in God supersedes everything, including superstition

    • Bargain (v. 15b-16)

        • Rachel’s offer

          • Rachel offers a night of intimacy with Jacob, to Leah, in exchange for her sons’ mandrakes

          • “Apparently Rachel, as Jacob’s favorite wife, had the questionable privilege of deciding which of Jacob’s wives or concubines would sleep with him on any given night.” ​​ [Youngblood cited by Waltke, 413]

          • The Hebrew word for “sleep” that Rachel uses seems to support the idea that she somehow controls Jacob’s sexual activities

          • “Like the English expression ‘sleep with,’ šākab (shak-have) as a euphemism for having sex applies to irregular sexual liaisons rather than regular relations between husbands and wives (19:32-35; 26:10; 34:2, 7; 35:22; 39:7-14). ​​ So Rachel’s use of this verb is neatly snide.” ​​ [Goldingay, 474]

          • The tension is thick

        • Leah’s desperation

          • Leah goes out to meet Jacob when he returns from the fields

            • There seems to be an urgency, a desperation to be the first to greet Jacob

            • We are not told why Leah goes out to meet Jacob

              • We can only speculate that perhaps she did not trust Rachel to follow through on the deal that was struck

              • Maybe it had been awhile since she had been intimate with Jacob and wanted to make sure it happened

              • We know that she was desperate to be loved by Jacob the same way that Jacob loved Rachel

            • When she meets Jacob, she informs him of the deal that has been struck – she has hired Jacob for the night with her sons mandrakes

          • Jacob does not object

            • Scripture says he slept with Leah that night

            • “First he was hired by Laban, and now he is hired by a woman who has already borne him four children. ​​ He raises no questions about Leah’s arrangement with Rachel.” ​​ [Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 18-50, 275]

            • I do not know about you, but I am finding myself wanting Jacob to stand up and be the spiritual leader of his household

            • I want him to be fair and equitable with his wives and to try to meet their needs a little bit

            • And yet, I realize that Jacob is human and fallible and struggles with the same things that men struggle with today – we are no different

            • Men, I want to challenge you to be fair and equitable with your wife and try to meet her needs

            • It should be a little easier for us, because we only have one wife instead of four

          • Leah should have been seeking the Lord through prayer about her desperation to be loved by Jacob instead of bargaining with Rachel to able to spend time alone with him

            • The same is true for us also

              • In our desperation, we should be seeking the Lord through prayer instead of bargaining with others

              • He knows what is best for us

              • He knows the best time for us to receive what He desires for us

            • Faith in God supersedes everything, including bargaining to get something we want

        • Results

          • Rachel is going to be disappointed with the outcome of the bargain between her and Leah

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – Manipulation and bargaining do not always provide favorable results.

            • Rachel does not immediately become pregnant after obtaining the mandrakes and probably using them

            • Leah is going to conceive three more times and provide Jacob with two additional sons and a daughter

            • Perhaps you have experienced this truth in your own life

              • You bargained for something only to realize that the other person receive far more benefit from the bargain than you did

              • How did that make you feel?

              • Have you made bargains with God that you felt did not work out the way you had hoped?

              • Did that affect how you viewed God and felt about Him?

              • Just recently I was in a group where one of the people was sharing about their experience with terminally ill individuals as their hospital chaplain

                • Two interesting things they experienced, shocked me

                • When they went to talk with individuals who had claimed to be atheists, they admitted that there was a God and they wanted to know more about Him – their illness drove them to the Lord

                • When they talked with individuals who had claimed the name of Christ for most of their lives, they questioned God about why He was allowing this terminal illness to happen to them, especially since they had served Him all of their lives

                • The Christians had made some kind of bargain with God that sounded something like this, “If I follow You, God, then I can trust that You will never allow anything hard to come into my life.”

                • God and Jesus have never promised that in Scripture

                • In fact, we are to expect hatred and persecution from the world, and potentially illness or hardships that God allows to remain in our lives to keep us humble

                • The Apostle Paul asked three times that the thorn in his flesh would be removed

                • This was the Lord’s response, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” ​​ (2 Corinthians 12:9)

                • Faith in God supersedes everything, including bargaining

              • Application

                • Are you currently angry with God, because the bargain you made with Him did not work out the way you wanted?

                  • Was the bargain you made with God according to the promises in His Word, the Bible?

                  • If they were not, then God cannot and will not go against those promises and His own word

                  • I want to encourage you to confess those feelings of anger and hurt to the Lord today

                  • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Confess my feelings of anger and hurt to the Lord.

                • Are you contemplating making a bargain with God about something you want?

                  • First, is it according to the promises found in His Word?

                  • Second, does it show faith in God that supersedes everything else?

                  • Third, are you willing to trust in God’s grace to be sufficient for you and for His power to be made perfect in your weakness?

                  • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust God by faith that His grace is sufficient for me, even in my weakness.

          • Rachel’s bargaining and manipulating seem to back fire on her

        • In the remaining verses, we see that Leah begins having children again

    • Babies (vv. 17-21)

        • God listened

          • These words should be noted and not glossed over too quickly

          • We are not told if Leah gave Rachel all of the mandrakes or kept some for herself

          • The mandrakes did not affect Leah’s fertility at all

          • It was God who determined when Leah would begin having children again and not some “magical” fruit or root

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – God is ultimately in control of everything.

            • God was in control of when Leah would conceive again

            • God was in control of when Rachel would conceive for the first time

            • God is in control of the circumstances of our lives and He knows when certain things will happen for us according to His purposes

              • Proverbs 16:9, In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.

              • Proverbs 19:21, Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

              • 1 Chronicles 29:11-12, Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. ​​ Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. ​​ Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. ​​ In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.

              • Job 42:2, “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.”

              • Psalm 135:5-7, I know that the Lord is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods. ​​ The Lord does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. ​​ He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.

            • This is an important principle and truth that we must understand as followers of Jesus Christ

            • God is in control of everything and we need to have faith in that fact

            • Faith in God supersedes everything.

          • Leah recognizes that God is in control

        • Three more children for Leah

          • Issachar

            • Leah conceives and gives birth to her fifth son

            • She believes that God has rewarded her for giving Zilpah to Jacob as his fourth wife

            • Issachar’s name can mean, “my wage” or “he rewards”

          • Zebulun

            • Leah conceives again and gives birth to her sixth son

            • She considers him a precious gift from God and hopes that Jacob will now treat her with honor

            • Zebulun’s name can mean “honor,” “dwelling,” or “endowment”

          • Dinah

            • We do not know the time frame of when Dinah was born, but it was after Issachar and Zebulun

            • She is probably mentioned here because of the role that she plays in Genesis 34

            • Her name means “judgment”


  • YOU

    • Do you need to depend on the Lord for a tumultuous situation in your life?

    • Do you need to confess your feelings of anger and hurt toward God?

    • Do you need to trust God by faith that His grace is sufficient for you?

    • Do you need to embrace the truth that God is in control of everything?


  • WE

    • We can depend on the Lord for any situation that we may be experiencing at church

    • We can trust God by faith that His grace is sufficient for us

    • We can acknowledge that God is in control of everything here at church


Faith in God supersedes everything!


We do not need to trust in wives’ tales, folk wisdom, or superstitions.





Very superstitious, writing's on the wall,
Very superstitious, ladders bout' to fall,
Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin' glass
Seven years of bad luck, the good things in your past


When you believe in things that you don't understand,
Then you suffer, superstition ain’t the way



Very superstitious, wash your face and hands,
Rid me of the problem, do all that you can,
Keep me in a daydream, keep me goin' strong,
You don't wanna save me, sad is the soul


When you believe in things that you don't understand,
Then you suffer, superstition ain't the way,
Yeh, yeh


Very superstitious, nothin' more to say,
Very superstitious, the devil's on his way,
Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin' glass,
Seven years of bad luck, good things in your past


When you believe in things that you don't understand,
Then you suffer, superstition ain't the way,
No, no, no


Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Stevie Wonder / Douglas Davis / Chris Howard / Kareem Davis

Superstition lyrics © Black Bull Music, Stone Agate Music, Sawandi Music, Jobete Music Co., Inc., Jobete Music Co Inc.






The Baby Race

(Genesis 30:9-13)



The Space Race was between the United States and the Soviet Union. ​​ It began with the Cold War, but quickly focused on space exploration. ​​ The Soviet Union struck first by launching Sputnik, the world’s first artificial satellite and the first man-made object to be placed into the Earth’s orbit, on October 4, 1957. ​​ In 1958, the United States launched its own satellite, Explorer I. ​​ In 1959, the Soviets launched the space probe, Luna 2 that hit the moon. ​​ April 1961 had the Soviet Union taking another giant leap in space travel; by sending Yuri Gagarin into orbit around the earth, (he was the first person to accomplish that). ​​ Alan Shepard was the first American in space (though not in orbit), which happened on May 5, 1961. ​​ In February of 1962, John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth. ​​ The lunar landing program began at the end of 1962, but did not see success until July 20, 1969 when Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon.


By landing on the moon, the United States, in effect, “won” the space race.





  • ME

    • Uncle race

        • This is not actually a competition in our family, but it is mentioned from time-to-time

        • Our middle son, is only an uncle once

        • Our oldest son, is an uncle twice

        • But, our youngest son is an uncle three times

        • Some people may try to make this a competition

    • Aunt/Uncle race

        • I am an uncle twice

        • My brother is an uncle three times

        • My sister is an aunt five times


  • WE

    • How about in your family?

        • Are there any healthy competitions going on?

        • Who is “winning”?

    • How about at work or in your friend group?


Last week we saw that Rachel’s maidservant Bilhah had two sons. ​​ Rachel named the second son, Naphtali, which meant “struggle.” ​​ Rachel then claimed victory in the struggle with her sister, Leah. ​​ What we will see today is that the baby race has not stopped. ​​ In fact, it seems to be heating up. ​​ Leah follows her sister’s example without consulting God. ​​ Human schemes seem to be playing a larger role in the narrative than God. ​​ Perhaps Rachel, Leah, and Jacob should have been involving God instead of relying on themselves and their maidservants. ​​ We will learn today that . . .


BIG IDEA – Involving God in our plans is important.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Genesis 30:9-13)

    • Leah’s plight (v. 9a)

        • Leah saw that she stopped having children

        • Perhaps she understood a little bit about how Rachel felt at not being able to conceive children, but probably not

        • Instead of being content with four sons at this point, Leah continues the baby race by following her sister, Rachel’s, example

        • She wanted to make sure she had a commanding lead in this “contest”

    • Leah’s plan (vv. 9b-13)

        • Jacob’s fourth wife

          • Leah should have involved God in her plans

          • Leah took her maidservant, Zilpah, and gave her to Jacob as his fourth wife

          • Two important principles we see here

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – Just because something is socially acceptable does not make it wise or right.

              • It was mentioned last week that in the ancient Near East it was not uncommon for a woman, struggling with infertility, to offer her maidservant to her husband, so that the children born to the maidservant would be considered the children of the husband and wife

              • Jacob is silent when Rachel and now Leah offer their maidservants to him as wives

                • He does not object

                • He certainly could have refused to give in to the socially acceptable practice and trusted God for His timing and plan

                • However, he doesn’t

              • How about us?

                • Is there something we are participating in or believing as followers of Christ, because they are socially acceptable in our culture?

                  • You would be surprised how many Christians accept things that God’s Word say are wrong, just because the court system in our country has ruled that it is acceptable and/or right

                  • Abortion, same sex marriage, use of marijuana, etc.

                • Are there things we have embraced as followers of Christ, because other people, including Christians, are doing them?

                  • Abuse of alcohol

                  • Use of marijuana, either illegally or with a doctor’s card

                  • Having sex before marriage

                  • Living together before marriage

                  • Gossip

                  • Foul language and coarse joking

                  • Looking at pornography

                • We can refuse to participate in, believe, and embrace what we know God says is wrong

                • We can choose, instead, to pursue holiness, righteousness, and purity

                • We can choose to wait on God’s timing and His plan for us

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Refuse to give in to what is socially acceptable and pursue holiness, righteousness, and purity instead.

              • Involving God in our plans is important.

              • This is so important, because others are watching what we are doing and determining what they should do as a result

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – Our actions/example may lead others astray.

              • This is what happened with Rachel and Leah

                • Leah saw what Rachel did in reaction to her infertility

                • So, Leah did the same thing when faced with not having any more children – she followed her sister’s example

              • When we participate in, believe, and embrace what our culture says is socially acceptable, we run the risk of leading other people astray

              • This happens with social issues, but it can also happen with spiritual issues

                • It happens all the time when someone takes just one verse from the Bible and uses it out of context to justify what they believe

                • Others try to make God in their own image, so they can continue to do what they want without feeling guilty

                • Still others try to reinterpret Scripture to have it say something that it does not say, so they can feel better about themselves or believe that God is accepting of their belief and/or actions

              • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Evaluate my actions to make sure they are in alignment with God’s Word, so that I am not leading anyone astray.

              • Rachel should have evaluated her actions to see what kind of impact they would have

            • Rachel, Leah, and Jacob should have refused to embrace what was socially acceptable in their culture and trusted God to fulfill His plan for them

            • Involving God in our plans is important.

          • Instead, Leah followed Rachel’s example and gave Zilpah to Jacob, which resulted in two additional sons for Leah

        • Zilpah’s children

          • Gad

            • Zilpah’s first son had Leah feeling fortunate, which is why she exclaimed, “What good fortune!”

            • Leah named him Gad, which can mean “good fortune” or “a troop”

            • “Does she attribute the birth to Fortune/Luck, not God? ​​ She is not represented as in prayer or praise, unlike the case of her own children (29:31-35; 30:14-20).” ​​ [Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary, 412]

            • “Elsewhere in the Middle East, Gad is the name of a deity who brings good luck, but in the First Testament it is simply a term for luck (except in Isa. 65:11).” ​​ [Goldingay, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament, Pentateuch, Genesis, 474]

            • It is fascinating that Leah names her first four sons in a way that recognizes that the Lord saw her, heard her, and blessed her

            • With Gad it seems to be different – it is almost as though she is embracing the pagan beliefs of the nations around her

            • It is not definite that this is what she is doing, because the text does not really tell us that

            • Leah now has five sons, but it does not stop there

          • Asher

            • Zilpah bore Jacob a second son

            • Leah is really happy to have six sons

            • In fact she believes that the women in her community will call her happy

            • Asher’s name means “women will call me happy”

            • Waltke says, “Essentially, Leah is saying, ‘I am to be envied.’” ​​ [Waltke, 412]

            • “That Leah refers to the ‘women’ (‘daughters’) indicates the community setting in which the prestige of children accrued for a woman. ​​ The women of Bethlehem present just such a benediction for Naomi at the birth of Obed (Ruth 4:14-15).” ​​ [Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1B, Genesis 11:27-50:26, 485-86]

            • Ruth 4:14-15, The women said to Naomi: ​​ “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. ​​ May he become famous throughout Israel! ​​ He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. ​​ For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”

            • Leah’s naming of Asher brings to mind Mary’s song of praise in Luke 1:46-55

              • Luke 1:48b, From now on all generations will call me blessed

              • “The major difference between the two is that Leah speaks of the ‘women’ (LXX A ‘all the women,’ pásai hai gynaíkes), while Mary speaks of ‘all generations’ (pásai hai geneaí).” ​​ [Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis, Chapter 18-50, 273]

              • Leah is talking about the women who are in her immediate community, while Mary is talking about women throughout history


  • YOU

    • Have you involved God in your plans?

    • Do you need to refuse to give in to what is socially acceptable and pursue holiness, righteousness, and purity?

    • Are there some actions that you need to evaluate to make sure they are in alignment with God’s Word, so that you do not lead other people astray?


  • WE

    • Are there spiritual issues that we need to evaluate as a body of believers to ensure that they align with God’s Word, so we are not leading others astray?



“In the late eighties and early nineties, there were several hundred studies about happiness published each year; by 2014, there were over 10,000 per year. It was an exciting shift for psychology, one that the public immediately responded to. Major media outlets clamored to cover the new research. Soon, entrepreneurs began monetizing it, founding start-ups and programming apps to help ordinary people implement the field's findings. They were followed by a deluge of celebrities, personal coaches, and motivational speakers, all eager to share the gospel of happiness. According to Psychology Today, in 2000, the number of books published about happiness was a modest fifty. In 2008, that number had skyrocketed to 4,000. Of course, people have always been interested in the pursuit of happiness, but all that attention has made an impact: since the mid-2000s, the interest in happiness, as measured by Google searches, has tripled. ‘The shortcut to anything you want in your life,’ writes author Rhonda Byrne in her bestselling 2006 book The Secret, ‘is to BE and FEEL happy now!’


And yet, there is a major problem with the happiness frenzy: it has failed to deliver on its promise. Though the happiness industry continues to grow, as a society, we're more miserable than ever. Indeed, social scientists have uncovered a sad irony—chasing happiness actually makes people unhappy.”


Source: Emily Esfahani Smith, The Power Of Meaning (Crown, 2017), pages 9-10.






Sister Struggle

(Genesis 30:1-8)



“Like many parents of grown children, Sadhana and Sanjeev Prasad of India are frustrated at the lack of grandchildren in the picture. But, the Prasad’s resorted to a desperate tactic to force their son’s hand. They are suing him.


The couple's legal representative said, ‘They raised him, educated him, made him capable, made him a pilot -- which was expensive.’ The Prasad’s filed a suit against their son and daughter-in-law, seeking damages in the amount of 50 million Indian rupees, or about $643,000 in US dollars. ‘They see people in their neighborhood playing with their grandchildren and feel like they should also have one. They said they didn't marry (their son and daughter-in-law) off so that they can live alone. So, they said, in the next year, either give us a grandchild or give us compensation.’


According to CNN, such lawsuits are rare, but they highlight the strong familial traditions in India, where carrying on the family line is of utmost importance. Lawsuits like this reflect the inevitable conflicts that arise from generational shifts in perspective that include a stronger focus on work and career over raising a family.”


Source: Esha Mitra & Jessie Yeung, “Indian Couple Sue Only Son for Not Giving Them Grandchildren,” CNN (3-17-22).




This couple was jealous of those around them who already had grandchildren. ​​ They wanted to experience the joy of playing with their own grandchildren. ​​ They were not content to wait on God’s providential timing, but rather used the court system to get what they wanted.



  • ME

    • Discontentment/Jealousy

        • It is so easy to want what others have, especially when it comes to our siblings

        • I know that it has happened in my own family with my brother and sister

        • I’m not going to give any specifics, but I can tell you that each one of us has wanted what the other sibling(s) have had or have

        • It is so easy to think that the grass is greener on the other side

        • Most of the time we are not aware of some of the hardships that go along with having a particular thing and if we knew the hardships that come along with it, we would probably not want it

    • Dependence on God

        • This is an area where Judy and I continue to grow

        • We have seen significant growth over the many years of our marriage

        • In the early years, we depended on God to provide for our monthly bills and to put food on the table

        • When we started having children, we had to depend on God to guide and direct us in raising them

        • As older adults, we are depending on God to provide wisdom in counseling our children as they go out on their own, have children, change jobs, return to school, start their own businesses, etc.

        • There were times over the years where we tried to depend on human schemes in order to provide for our needs, but inevitably we returned to God for help and dependence


  • WE

    • All of us have a time in our lives when we were discontent and probably jealous of a sibling, friend, neighbor, fellow student, or coworker – it is part of our human condition to want what others have.

    • Every one of us can probably remember a time that we used a human scheme instead of depending on God


Last week, Pastor Marc shared with us that Leah had four sons by Jacob, because God had opened her womb. ​​ Rachel’s womb remained shut at this point and it caused her to become jealous of Leah. ​​ In her jealousy, she blamed Jacob and then devised a plan that would enable her to have children by her maidservant. ​​ She was not willing to wait on God’s providential timing, but tried to take control of the situation. ​​ This human scheme would not provide the contentment that she was hoping for. ​​ She need to depend on God and seek Him instead of trying to work it out on her own. ​​ She needed to learn to . . .


BIG IDEA – “Never replace dependence on God with human schemes.” ​​ [Gangel & Bramer]


The same is true for us.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Genesis 30:1-8)

    • Sadness (vv. 1-2)

        • Rachel became jealous of Leah, because Leah was having children and Rachel was not

          • Rachel’s jealousy stemmed from the pressures of her culture

          • “In a society that considered children, especially sons, symbols of wealth and power, jealousy loomed as the inevitable result of Rachel’s dilemma.” ​​ [Gangel & Bramer, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, 248-49]

        • Neither sister is content with what God has given them

          • “One wife has children but no love, the other has love but no children, and ‘they are competing with each other, one for love and the other for children.’” ​​ [Goldingay, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament, Pentateuch, 472]

          • For Rachel, love was not enough when Leah was bearing sons for Jacob

          • For Leah, children were not enough when Jacob clearly loved Rachel more than her

          • PRINCIPLE #1 – Contentment comes when we treasure what God has given us.

            • Where are you at today?

              • Are you dealing with discontentment?

              • Is there something that someone else has that you wish you had?

              • Is jealousy gaining a foothold in your life?

              • What does Scripture have to say about jealousy and envy?

                • James 3:16, For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

                • James 4:1-3, What causes fights and quarrels among you? ​​ Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? ​​ You want something but don’t get it. ​​ You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. ​​ You quarrel and fight. ​​ You do not have, because you do not ask God. ​​ When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

                • Proverbs 14:30, A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

                • Proverbs 27:4, Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?

                • 1 Corinthians 3:1-3, Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly – mere infants in Christ. ​​ I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. ​​ Indeed, you are still not ready. ​​ You are still worldly. ​​ For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? ​​ Are you not acting like mere men?

                • Paul tells the Galatians that one of the works of the flesh is jealousy and if we do any of the works of the flesh that we will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21)

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Confess my jealousy to the Lord and ask Him to forgive me.

              • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Treasure what the Lord has given me and thank Him.

            • We can experience contentment when we depend on God instead of other human beings

            • Rachel was depending on Jacob instead of the Lord to provide only what the Lord could provide

          • So, Rachel confronts Jacob while she is sad and hurting from the jealousy she is experiencing

        • Immediate gratification

          • Rachel is demanding that Jacob give her children or she’ll die

            • Obviously she will not die if she doesn’t have children, but this is the extent of her sadness, pain, and social disgrace

            • We have the privilege of knowing the whole story, from start to finish

              • The Lord will open Rachel’s womb and she will have two sons

              • Just a side note – Rachel will die after giving birth to her second child, Benjamin

              • Rachel does not have the foreknowledge that she will eventually have her own children with Jacob

              • She is impatient with God’s timing and takes her anger and frustration out on Jacob

                • There are two principles here that we do not want to miss

                • PRINCIPLE #2 – God’s providential timing is best.

                  • When we are hurting and upset, it is nearly impossible to see that God’s providential timing is best

                  • That is why we have to have close friends or family members that we can trust to point us back to the truths of who God is and what He has promised to do

                  • We need accountability partners that will remind us to never replace dependence on God with human schemes and to wait patiently for God’s perfect timing

                  • Do you have those kind of people in your life? ​​ (if you do that is great, hold on to them)

                  • If you do not, who can you trust to be that person(s) for you?

                  • Do you need to trust in God’s providential timing for something that you have been impatiently waiting on?

                • PRINCIPLE #3 – Misplaced anger can hurt relationships.

                  • “. . . instead of praying, either directly or through her husband, as Rebekah had done, to Jehovah, who had promised His favour to Jacob (28:13ff), she [Rachel] said to Jacob, in passionate displeasure, ‘Get me children, or I shall die;’ to which he angrily replied, ‘Am I in God’s stead (i.e., equal to God, or God), who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?’ i.e., Can I, a powerless man, give thee what the Almighty God has withheld? [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 184]

                  • We see that both Rachel and Jacob speak without thinking and allow misplaced anger to hurt each other

                  • Rachel was actually angry with God, because she knew who had the power to give and take life – she knew that Jacob did not have that power

                  • Jacob speaks impulsively when verbally attacked by Rachel

                  • “. . . what Rachel needed wasn’t a lecture on theology or gynecology. ​​ She needed the kind understanding of her husband and the encouragement that only his love could provide.” ​​ [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 128]

                  • Is there something that you are angry with God about, but you have taken it out on a love one? (it’s not too late to go to that person, apologize, and ask for forgiveness)

                  • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Apologize and seek forgiveness for taking out my anger on a loved one.

                  • Have you been verbally attacked for something you do not have any control over?

                  • How did you react? ​​ (verbally attack back or provide understanding and encouragement with love)

                  • It’s not too late to go back to that person and provide loving encouragement and understanding

                  • #4 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Provide understanding and encouragement with love to someone who has verbally attacked me.

                  • It is important that we work to restore relationships that been damaged by misplaced anger

          • In her desire for immediate gratification and to best her sister, Rachel hatches a plan to ensure that she will have children

        • She offers her maidservant, Bilhah, to Jacob as a third wife and surrogate mother for her children

    • Surrogate (vv. 3-8)

        • “Never replace dependence on God with human schemes.”

        • Rachel’s plan

          • In the ancient Near East it was not uncommon for a wife who was experiencing infertility to offer her maidservant to her husband, so that the children born to the maidservant would be counted as the children of the husband and wife

          • We will see this played out as Rachel is the one who names the two sons born to Bilhah

          • In essence, Jacob and Rachel have adopted them

          • Two things that set Rachel apart from Sarah

            • There does not seem to be tension between the Rachel and Bilhah after she gives birth, while there was certainly tension between Sarah and Hagar

            • Rachel accepts the two boys as hers, while Sarah does not accept Ishmael

          • Jacob sleeps with Bilhah and she becomes pregnant

        • Bilhah’s babies

          • Dan

            • Rachel’s reaction to the first child born to Bilhah is recognition that God has vindicated her and has listened to her plea

            • It seems as though Rachel has been praying for a child, but perhaps this only happened after she gave Bilhah to Jacob as a third wife

            • Dan’s name comes from how Rachel felt after his birth

            • Dan literally means, “God has vindicated me.”

            • “In such context, the verb dîn signifies justice for an individual who finds herself in a heretofore hopeless and helpless state.” ​​ [Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 18-50, 271]

            • Rachel is equally excited about birth of a second son to Bilhah

          • Naphtali

            • Bilhah conceived again and birth another son for Jacob

            • Rachel obviously perceived that she and Leah were in a competition, but again they were competing for two different things – Rachel was competing for children and Leah was competing for love

            • It is fascinating that Rachel would declare that she had won the struggle between her and Leah after having only two adopted sons

            • Perhaps this is an indication that the narrative is not in chronological order

              • Last week we learned about the four sons that Leah had

              • It is probable that Leah had two sons and then Bilhah had two sons, before Leah had two more sons

              • Maybe that is why Rachel is claiming victory at this point

              • The chronological time frame is not spelled out specifically in the text

            • Rachel names this second son Naphtali, which means “my struggle”

          • It appears as though Bilhah stops having children after Dan and Naphtali – no other children are recorded for her in Scripture


  • YOU

    • Are you jealous about something right now – take time to confess that to the Lord and seek His forgiveness

    • Are you treasuring what the Lord has given you and have you thanked Him for those things?

    • Do you need to apologize and seek forgiveness for taking out your anger and frustration on someone else?

    • Do you need to provide loving encouragement and understanding to someone who is sad, hurting, and struggling?


  • WE

    • Is there jealousy in the church that needs to be addressed and dealt with?

    • What are things we need to treasure that God has given to us as a body of believers?

    • How can we as a church provide loving encouragement and understanding to those in our community who are experiencing sadness, hurt, and struggles?



“Research studies indicate that up to 45 percent of adult siblings have relationships marked by rivalry or distance. A story from the Wall Street Journal featured Al Golden, 85, who still chokes up when he talks about his twin brother, Elliott, who died three years ago. The brothers shared a room growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., graduated from the same college and then married within a month of each other in 1947.


Yet Mr. Golden still remembers how their father often compared their grades, asking one or the other, ‘How come you got a B and your brother got an A?’ Elliott Golden became a lawyer and eventually a state Supreme Court judge. Al Golden went into the mirror business then sold life insurance. He says he always envied his brother's status and secretly took pleasure in knowing he was a better fisherman and owned a big boat. Once, Elliott asked him, ‘I am a lawyer. How come you make more money than me?’ Mr. Golden says. ‘He meant: ‘How come you are making more than me when you are not as successful?’ But it made me feel good.’


One day, Elliott accused him of not doing enough to take care of their ailing mother. After the conversation, Al didn't speak to his brother for more than a year. ‘It might have been the build-up of jealousies over the years,’ he says. His brother repeatedly reached out to him, as did his nieces and nephews, but Mr. Golden ignored them.


Then one day Al received an email from his brother telling a story about two men who had a stream dividing their properties. One man hired a carpenter to build a fence along the stream, but the carpenter built a bridge by mistake. Mr. Golden thought about the email then wrote back, ‘I'd like to walk over the bridge.’ ‘I missed him,’ Mr. Golden says now. ‘I never had the chance to miss him before.’”


Source: Elizabeth Bernstein, "Sibling Rivalry Grows Up," Wall Street Journal (3-20-12).”





Unrequited Love

I want to begin with an illustration from Preaching Today called, The Quest For Love Endures: “PBS’s The Great American Read is an eight-part series that explores America’s 100 best-loved novels. The series notes that one theme emerges often in these novels—the quest for love, especially a romantic love that will endure. Here are a few quotes from literature experts commenting on the series and the novels: “Love is the driving force behind everything that we do. So I think reading about all these different types of loves and the ways in which they present, is one of the great human questions.” “I love a good love story. I think everybody wants love. If you don’t have it you’re trying to get it. If you have it, you’re trying to keep it.” “Every book on this list is about love and death. And finding love that transcends death. I mean, who’s not going to love a love story?” “We are fascinated by the fact that things can go wrong in love. We don’t want to go there and we don’t want this sort of thing to happen to us.”

That brings us to unrequited love which is the title of the message. Unrequited love is love that is not mutual or reciprocated; one person loves someone who does not love them back. The word “requite” literally means to return or to repay. The term unrequited love, in particular, carries an intentionally dramatic or romantic connotation to it, in part because the phrase appears so often throughout classic literature and poetry and continues to be a popular theme in books, movies, and music today. Unrequited love can be deeply painful for the person who's in love, in part because it often means they will not get to share life with that person as fully or deeply as they want and they may also feel like it’s a rejection or condemnation of their worth.

This morning we are going to be in Genesis 29:31-35 and what we will see is really a story of unrequited love. Last week, Pastor Stuart in his sermon titled, Love is Blind, told us about Jacob who was so blinded by his love for Rachel that her father, Laban, was able to deceive him into marrying the older sister Leah. From last week, we know that Jacob loved Rachel more than he loved Leah and this morning we will see that Leah knew this and felt this. She felt unloved, unwanted, afflicted and neglected and her love for Jacob was not reciprocated. And, yes, we will see that Leah does have children to Jacob but she doesn’t have his heart and that is what she really wants. She will cry out in her unloved and afflicted state and someone will hear and see her and that someone is God. This is where God will step into Leah’s life. When you feel that no one loves you, when you feel unwanted and neglected that is when God will step into your life as well. And you can know that God hears you, sees you and loves you deeply. That brings us to our big idea this morning which is: God sees and hears the cries of the unloved and the afflicted and loves them deeply. We see time and time again in the Bible where both God and Jesus see and hear those that feel this way and comes to their rescue.

Before we jump into our scripture this morning, let’s pray: Dear Heavenly Father, your Word says you are close to the broken-hearted and those would include the unwanted, afflicted, and neglected. We see in your word that you come to their rescue over and over again. Lord, there may be those here this morning or online who feel that very way and we pray that they would feel your presence and that they would feel your love that is right now already surrounding them. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear the cries of those around us that are feeling this way this morning and help us to come alongside them and provide love, comfort and peace in their time of need. In Jesus name, Amen.

The first point this morning is “Seen” found in Genesis 29:31. This is what God’s Word says, “Now the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, and He opened her womb, but Rachel was unable to have children.”

If we go back a few verses, we see that after finishing the wedding week with Leah, Jacob received Rachel as his wife and they immediately had their wedding week. We are told that Jacob had relations with Rachel but are never told that he had relations with Leah. And as I just mentioned we know that “Jacob loved Rachel more than he loved Leah.” That is the background for what we see in verse 31, “The Lord saw that Leah was unloved.” The word for “unloved” is the same word for “hate” but actually means “to love less.” We don’t know how Jacob treated Leah but commentators agree that he didn’t abuse her. But he probably spent all of his time with Rachel, the wife he loved more, thereby neglecting Leah. Now we may not want to think too harshly of Jacob because he was tricked into marrying Leah but we know what God thought about his treatment of her. God saw how Jacob was treating Leah and opened her womb so she could have his children. These children would be a divine provision fulfilling God’s promise to Jacob that he would have descendants like the dust of the earth. This is the first time God has taken an active part in the narrative since his appearance to Jacob at Bethel. God’s silence and inactivity is probably because of Jacob’s lack of praise after being led by God to his mother’s brother Laban and his family and the subsequent treachery and deception by Laban. A lot of times in the OT, God’s silence shows his disappointment or disapproval in what is going on.

And then almost as an aside, we are told that Rachel was unable to have children. We know from verse 30 that Jacob and Rachel were having relations so why couldn’t she have children? The reason she couldn’t have children is because God closed her womb just as he opened Leah’s. In chapter 30:1-2 we see Rachel confront Jacob about not being able to have children and Jacob replies, “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?” So Rachel can’t have children and Leah will be able to have children because of an act of God. These two acts together would have been an implied rebuke of Jacob’s blatant favoring of Rachel and neglect of Leah.

God was pouring out his grace on Leah by opening her womb. The Jewish people believed that children were a gift from God. Psalm 127:3-4 says, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.” It is possible that Jacob had been neglecting his marital duties with Leah. Whether he ever thought about divorcing her or not it must not have been an option. It wouldn’t have made sense for Laban to trick him if Jacob could have just divorced Leah afterwards. It is probable that Jacob was only having relations with Rachel because he wanted her, the one he loved, to have his firstborn son. But God saw that Leah was unloved, unwanted, afflicted and neglected and he opened her womb and closed Rachel’s. God in his infinite love and compassion saw Leah’s pain and because of his deep love for her he graciously blessed her. God also sees us when we feel unloved, unwanted and neglected and just like Leah we can trust that he deeply loves every one of us and wants to be in relationship with us. (Big Idea) This is brings us to the first next step on the back of your communication card: Trust that God loves me deeply even when I feel like no one else does.

Now Jacob was smart enough to know that Rachel was barren and since children were a gift from God he decided to have relations with Leah. But this didn’t seem to have the desired effect that Leah was looking for as we will see that in the next section, called “Sons” found in verses 32-35. This is what God’s Word says, 32 Leah conceived and gave birth to a son, and named him Reuben, for she said, “Because the Lord has seen my affliction; surely now my husband will love me.” 33 Then she conceived again and gave birth to a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.” So she named him Simeon. 34 And she conceived again and gave birth to a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore he was named Levi. 35 And she conceived again and gave birth to a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children.

It seems that as soon as God opened Leah’s womb, she conceived and her firstborn was a boy. The formula we will see with these four births is that the child will be given a name followed by a comment by Leah or vice versa. In fact with the firstborn child, it is the only time that Leah names the child before making the comment about them. This was probably to differentiate the firstborn from the following three sons. Leah’s comments on the births of these four children will be a play on words connecting the children’s names to the comments made by her. Her comments will give us insight into what she is feeling and going through at the time of their births.

Rachel called her firstborn son, Reuben, which means “see or behold, a son.” Then she makes two comments. First, “it is because the Lord has seen my affliction” and second, “surely now my husband will love me.” These two sentiments expressed both a lament and a wish. The name Reuben sounds like the Hebrew word for “to see” and in naming him she was expressing her faith in God who saw her affliction. We also see how she was feeling and what her true wish or desire was. She was feeling unloved and unwanted and what she truly desired was for her husband to love her. She wanted Jacob’s heart even though his heart was with another. Leah was suffering from an unrequited love; a love that was not reciprocated by Jacob.

With the birth of the second son, before naming the child, Leah makes the comment, “Because the Lord has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.” Then she names him, Simeon. The name, Simeon, sounds like the Hebrew word for “to hear” and she comments that because the Lord has “heard” her he has given her a second son. This suggests that Leah had been talking with God about her unloved and afflicted state. She continues to be bitterly disappointed in the fact that despite the birth of Reuben she is still “unloved” by Jacob. He still would not reciprocate the love that Leah desired to have. She still expresses her faith in God though and she truly believes that these children were from God. He was pouring out his grace and mercy on her because he saw and heard she was unloved and afflicted by her husband. Simeon’s name would be a reminder that God hears his people in the time of their need.

We don’t know what Jacob was thinking because he is silent during these births. He seemingly doesn’t even have a hand in naming these children. It is interesting that as we look ahead he doesn’t seem to have had a hand in naming any of the twelve children born in this chapter or the next. This would have been unusual in that time as the father usually took part in naming their children. In Genesis 16:15, Abraham named Ishmael and in Genesis 21:3 he names Isaac. And in Genesis 25:25-26, Isaac and Rebekah named Jacob and Esau.

We see many times in God’s Word that he sees and hears the cries of the unloved, unwanted and afflicted. We have already seen this in the book of Genesis when we studied the story of Hagar and Ishmael. Genesis 16:11 says, “The angel of the Lord said to her further, “Behold, you are pregnant, And you will give birth to a son; And you shall name him Ishmael, Because the Lord has heard your affliction.” God heard Hagar’s affliction and she would give birth to a son called Ishmael which means “God hears.” Later in verse 13 & 14, we see these words, “Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees me”; for she said, “Have I even seen Him here and lived after He saw me?” “Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi, which means “the well of the living one who sees me.” God saw and heard Hagar’s cries and he still sees and hears the cries of the unloved and afflicted, today.

There is another story in the Bible of God hearing the affliction of others found in Exodus 2:23-25. “Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage ascended to God. So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them.” Not only did God hear the Israelites in their affliction but he also took notice of them. God sees and hears the cries of the unloved and afflicted (big Idea).

The third son born to Leah and Jacob is Levi. Again we see that Leah comments on the birth before he is named. She says that “now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” The name Levi sounds like the Hebrew word for “joined” or “attached.” Leah believes because she has now borne three sons to Jacob that he will want to be “joined” with her. Every Jewish father wanted sons and Leah was certain that the birth of Levi would cause Jacob to truly love her and her love would now be reciprocated. But of course this is not what happens. Jacob still loves Leah less than Rachel as Jacob is just fulfilling his duty as a husband and not sharing his affections with her. And Leah still feels unloved, unwanted, and neglected by her husband.

The fourth son born to Leah and Jacob is Judah. Leah comments, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Judah’s name means “he (God) will be praised.” We notice that this time she doesn’t mention being unloved, afflicted or neglected by Jacob instead she praises the Lord. She stops focusing on Jacob’s love which was not forthcoming and focuses on God’s love for her that had always been there. She has always known that these children were from God but seemingly never praised Him for them. She has become more and more aware of God working in her life, so when Judah was born, she decides not to dwell on the negative but to dwell on the Lord and his love and goodness for her. Leah decided to stop seeking the love and approval of her husband and instead God the glory and the praise. She had realized that her identity and worth came from the Lord not Jacob. (Big Idea) Maybe you are doing the same thing as Leah, this morning, in seeking love and approval from human beings instead of God. If so the second next step on the back of your communication card is for you: Stop seeking the love and approval of human beings and instead find my identity and worth in the Lord. Then you too will be able to praise the Lord for his love and goodness to you.

Lastly, we see that Leah “stopped having children.” We aren’t told explicitly that God had anything to do with it but we saw that God opened her womb and I believe he closed it. Why? Because he had a sovereign plan and purpose for the twelve sons of Jacob that would become the nation of Israel and his chosen people. And this part of the plan had been fulfilled and the next one was about to begin. Later in chapter 30 we will see that God listened to Leah and she became pregnant again. God is the one who opens and closes wombs. We may not understand why or why not but we can trust his sovereign plan in the Bible and in our own lives as well.

My conclusion is adapted from a sermon by Pastor Charlie Garrett. With the birth of the last two sons, Levi and Judah, Hamilton says, “two of the major OT institutions, priesthood and kingship, have their origin in an unwanted and unplanned marriage.” That is the sovereignty of God. The preeminence will move to Judah, and so the line of the Messiah will continue through him. From Levi will come the priestly class of people, known as the Levites. They will continue to minister to the people of Israel throughout the time of Jesus and the Gospel of Matthew will be written by a Levite. Today in Israel it is claimed that the gene identifying the Levites has been isolated and in particular the gene of the Kohanim, or the high priestly class. If you’ve ever known a Jewish person with the name Cohen, this is the group who can most readily trace their DNA all the way back to the line of Aaron, the son of Levi. It seems God has ensured that this tribe of people will be ready for the final portion of a prophecy given by Daniel about 2700 years ago which encompasses the 7 years of tribulation. It is a time when a temple will again stand in Israel and the Levites will minister there.

Four sons for the unloved wife and the honor of one of them leading to the Messiah of the world. It is a high honor for a woman who was overlooked as a suitable wife. Leah is simply a picture of a lot of us. We don’t feel we are anything special and may get passed by in life for whatever reason, but the Lord is always with us. God opened Leah’s womb and showed her favor while the younger, prettier wife remained barren. We don’t need to waste our time trying to compete with beauty or money or status. All of these may be nice, but they can disappear in a moment and we can’t take it with us. However, the favor of the Lord lasts forever. There will never be a time that Leah isn’t the ancestor of the Lord, but it wasn’t long before Rachel’s beauty disappeared. We must keep your eyes on the Lord and fix our thoughts on that which is noble and good. We can’t worry about the things we can’t control. The Lord has all of us exactly where He wants us and where He can best use us. He has a good plan and purpose for us. Nothing is left to chance with our wonderful Creator. As we daily and totally surrender ourselves to the Lord he will do marvelous things for us and through us.

As the praise team comes forward, let’s pray: Heavenly Father, we thank you for this time to go deeper into your Word. We praise and thank you that you see and hear our cries no matter what they are for and that you love us deeply. Help us through your Holy Spirit to trust that you love us even when we feel like no one else does. And help us to stop seeking love and approval from others and to find our identity and worth in you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Love Is Blind

(Genesis 29:14b-30)



“The story is told of the cruel and tyrannical Baron Rascas and his beautiful and kind wife, the Lady of Rascas. ​​ When the baron was summoned to the Crusades by his king, he was concerned that his wife would turn to another (either because of his death or his long absence) that he commanded his wizard Malagan, to make her ugly just after his departure and then for the wizard to join him in the crusade so the spell could not be undone. ​​ It was done as the king commanded, with the result that the good lady had the face of a horse. ​​ Despite her condition, she managed the lands of the baron well during his absence, and the people grew to love her with no thought to her appearance.


After seven years, the baron returned without Malagan and was repulsed by his wife’s ugliness. ​​ Without Malagan there was no way to reverse the spell, and his wife was utterly rejected by the baron, who, if it were possible, had become even more insufferable since the wars. ​​ Word was sent far and wide offering a reward to any wizard or magician who could reverse the spell. ​​ Many tried; none succeeded. ​​ One day a poor beggar arrived at the gates and, after gaining admission to the baron’s presence, identified himself as Malagan. ​​ He recounted before the entire court how the baron abandoned him when he had been wounded and left him for dead. ​​ Years of slavery followed, and he lost most of his skills before he was finally able to regain his freedom. ​​ He had now returned to remedy the situation.


When the Lady of Rascas was called into the king’s presence, the wizard’s words proved not to transform the lady to her earlier beauty, but instead, transformed the baron a similar horse-face appearance. ​​ It was only in this condition that the baron finally learned to love and cherish his wife and become the kind and caring lord he should have been from the start. ​​ The moral of the story has two parts to it: ​​ (1) ‘Out of evil came good, out of ugliness, beauty’; (2) ‘he who turns to evil will, at the end, find it turned against him.’”


[Walton, The NIV Application Commentary, Genesis, 595-96].



  • ME

    • Love is blind

        • In talking with couples prior to marriage I always find it interesting some of the statements they make or how they view the person they are in love with

          • There was one couple that I knew where the man filled out a reference form for the lady and he scored her a perfect 10 on everything (the employer already knew that there was room for improvement, but the boyfriend did not see it that way)

          • Another young man said that he would be fine with letting the young lady always getting her way after marriage

        • This just proves that love can blind us to reality and make us say things that we will probably not follow through with

    • We reap what we sow

        • Once the honeymoon was over, the young man probably realized that his, now wife, was not a perfect 10 in all areas – there were adjustments that had to take place, and some recognition of reality, in order for the couple to remain married (they are still married today, 24 years and going)

        • The same thing happened with the second young man – reality sank in and in order for the marriage to work, there had to be give and take on both sides and not one person always getting their own way (this marriage is also still going strong)


  • WE

    • Most of us can probably say that we have been blinded by love at one time in our lives

    • If we have not been blinded by love, we can probably admit that we have reaped what we have sown (whether positive or negative)


We will see today that Jacob was blinded by love, which caused him to miss that fact that Laban deceived him. ​​ Jacob had used deception with his father and brother and now he was getting a taste of his own medicine. ​​ In everything that took place in this narrative, we cannot miss the fact that God is in control and His sovereign plan will be fulfilled. ​​ We can all agree to today, that . . .


BIG IDEA – We reap what we sow.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Genesis 29:14b-30)

    • Wages (vv. 14b-20)

        • Timestamp (v. 14b)

          • The second half of verse 14 gives us a timeframe

          • One month after Jacob arrived in Haran/Paddan Aram, Laban pulls him aside to talk about wages

        • Negotiations (vv. 15-20)

          • This would have been a little bit unusual in the Ancient Near East, since family members were not usually paid

          • They were taken care of, as a family member, by the head of the household, therefore, there was no need for them to take a wage

          • “His initial question is rhetorical, meaning Jacob should not be utilized without compensation lest he be a slave. ​​ Yet he cannot establish the standard of payment for Jacob since he is not merely a hired worker either.” ​​ [Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1B, Genesis 11:27-50:26, 466-67]

            • Jacob is not a slave – slaves did not receive any wages

            • Jacob is not a hired hand – hired hands were given a specific wage

            • Laban should have realized that Jacob was not going to remain in Haran permanently, but would be returning to Canaan after he found a wife

            • So, perhaps the offer of wages was to prepare Jacob for his future

            • If Jacob is going to marry one of his daughters, then he would want Jacob to be well-established

            • Jacob came to Laban with nothing, which means he would not have the ability to pay a bride price

            • Maybe Laban was offering a wage to Jacob, so he could begin to save for a dowry

            • None of this is directly expressed in this passage of Scripture, so we are left to speculate concerning why Laban is offering to pay Jacob, as a family member

            • From Jacob’s response, we realize that he understands that he does not have anything to give for a bride price

          • Laban’s two daughters (vv. 16-18a)

            • The narrator gives us some information about Laban’s daughters, before sharing Jacob’s offer about wages

              • Leah

                • Her name means, “cow” or “weary”

                • She was the older of the two

                • She had weak eyes

                  • This does not mean that she had poor eyesight

                  • The Hebrew word can also mean “soft,” “delicate,” or “tender”

                  • Leah probably did not have bright eyes that sparkled with fire in them

                  • Women with bright, sparkling, and fiery eyes were considered to be beautiful in the Oriental culture [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 183; Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary, 405]

                  • We have to remember that in the culture of the day, women were covered from head to toe with only their eyes and cheeks exposed

                  • So, their eyes told a lot about them

                  • I imagine that Leah was perhaps more reserved and contemplative, which her eyes revealed about her

                  • Jacob obviously did not find that attractive

              • Rachel

                • Her name means, “ewe” (it is fascinating that Rachel is a shepherdess, taking care of her father’s sheep)

                • She was the younger of the two

                • She was lovely in form, and beautiful

                  • I am not sure how the narrator knew that Rachel had a beautiful figure (shape of her body), since she would have been covered head to toe

                  • Other translations say that Rachel also had a beautiful or lovely face, which probably meant that she had bright, fiery, sparkling eyes

                  • One other translation says she has a beautiful countenance, which would have been apparent through the bright, fiery, sparkling eyes

                  • She was probably outgoing, energetic, and fiery in her personality

              • “Apparently both of Laban’s daughters served as walking commercials for his business operation.” ​​ [Gangel & Bramer, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, 246]

            • Jacob was in love with Rachel (love at first sight?)

          • Jacob’s offer (v. 18b)

            • Jacob offers to work for Laban for seven years in return for Rachel’s hand in marriage

            • This would have been a generous bride price

              • “In texts from Nuzi the typical bride price was thirty to forty shekels. ​​ Since a shepherd’s annual wage was ten shekels a year, Jacob is in effect paying a premium by working seven years, but he is in no position to negotiate.” ​​ [Walton, 586]

              • With the way the housing market is right now, there are individuals who are making higher offers in an effort to try to guarantee that they will get the house – in fact, cash offers are being accepted over all other offers

              • Jacob wants to make sure that he will be able to marry Rachel, so he offers more than the usual bride price

            • Laban is agreeable to the terms

          • Laban’s response

            • Laban tells Jacob that it is better for him to give her to him than to some other man

              • The cultural practice of endogamy is at play here again – marrying within the family instead of outside the family

              • Perhaps Laban saw the character and work ethic of Jacob in that first month and realized that he would be a good spouse for his daughter

            • Laban encourages Jacob to stay with him

          • Love is blind

            • Jacob served seven years to get Rachel

            • The seven years only seemed like a few days to Jacob, because of his love for Rachel

            • Judy and I got engaged between our Sophomore and Junior year of college and then got married a year later between our Junior and Senior year of college

              • I don’t remember everything that happened in that year, because it seemed to go by so fast with full-time school and wedding preparations

              • I’m sure Judy felt the same way

            • Love has a way of blinding us to everything that happens between certain events

            • Jacob experienced that with the seven years of service just flying by

        • Application

          • We reap what we sow

            • We see Jacob maturing in his character as he patiently waits to marry Rachel

            • He was sowing patience and reaping God’s blessing of time passing quickly

            • This was not the case when it came to Jacob’s birthright and Isaac’s blessing

            • God used human sinful circumstances to accomplish His plan and purpose concerning Jacob being the covenant carrier, even though it may come sooner than later

            • While Jacob was impatient, waiting for God to fulfill His promise, we now see that he is sowing patience when it comes to finding a wife

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – Patience is a virtue.

              • Have you ever tried to run ahead of God and His timing?

                • Maybe it was with a relationship, or a financial decision, a job change, or career path

                • How did it work out for you?

                • In hindsight, did you wish that you had waited on God’s timing and His plan?

              • Is there a situation, currently, where you are struggling to be patient?

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Patiently wait on God’s timing and plan for the situation I am currently involved in.

              • We can trust God to accomplish His plan and purpose in our lives at just the right time – wait on Him, spend time in prayer and reading His Word, and seek the counsel of other believers

          • Jacob was reaped what he had sown – patience – the seven years seemed like a few days

        • The wages were set and the Jacob had faithful fulfilled his obligation of the bride price

        • It was time to celebrate and consummate his marriage

    • Weddings (vv. 21-30)

        • Jacob asks for his wife, so he could consummate his marriage – he had patiently waited and now it was time

        • Laban’s deception

          • Laban prepared a feast and brought all of the people together

          • The wedding feast would last one week, as we will see in verse 27

          • Jacob is expecting to receive Rachel as his wife and perhaps Rachel is with him during the feast, but something happens after dark

          • Laban took Leah and gave her to Jacob as his wife

          • Jacob consummated his marriage with Leah by laying with her (they were intimate with each other)

          • How did Laban get away with this deception?

            • Love is blind!

              • Jacob’s patience had reached it limit and he was ready to consummate his marriage with Rachel

              • Perhaps in his eagerness, he was not very attentive to whom was in bed with him

            • There are all kinds of other ideas and speculations

              • It is very likely that wine was part of the feast and potentially Jacob may have had a little too much to drink, which could have clouded his mind

              • The bridal attire would have covered the women’s bodies completely and the bridal veil would have covered all but Leah’s eyes

              • Culturally, the veil may have been worn even during the sexual act

              • The tent where Jacob and Leah would have spent the night would have been dark or dimly lit

              • Laban may have had Leah wear some of Rachel’s clothes, which would recall what Jacob doing the same thing with Esau’s clothing at the prompting of his mother

            • Scripture does not tell us how the deception was carried out, it just tells us that it happened

          • The narrator gives us a side note about Laban giving his servant girl, Zilpah to Leah as her maidservant

          • Morning wakeup call

            • The morning light and a clear head revealed that Jacob had married Leah instead of Rachel

            • Jacob confronted Laban about his deception – “I thought the deal was to work for you for seven years and then I would marry Rachel, why did you give Leah to me?”

            • We reap what we sow

              • While Jacob was maturing and developing as the covenant carrier, he was experiencing a taste of his own medicine

              • He had sown deception with his father and brother and was now reaping deception

              • “The nemesis is made all the more pungent by the fact that Jacob is caught in the same device he himself had once used. ​​ He pretended to be Esau in front of Isaac. ​​ Leah pretends to be Rachel next to Jacob. ​​ While Jacob’s ruse was pretending to be his older brother, Leah’s ruse is pretending to be her younger sister. ​​ Jacob is deceived as he deceived his father.” ​​ [Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 18-50, 262]

              • Numbers 32:23, “But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.”

              • Galatians 6:7-8, Do not be deceived: ​​ God cannot be mocked. ​​ A man reaps what he sows. ​​ The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

              • This is true for us also, when we do things that please our sinful nature, there will be consequences for those behaviors

              • When we do things that please the Lord, we will experience eternal life

            • God knew what He was doing, through Laban’s deception

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – God is sovereign and will accomplish His plan.

              • What is so significant about Jacob marrying Leah instead of Rachel?

              • Leah’s fourth child with Jacob is Judah

              • Read Matthew 1:1-16

              • Do you see the significance of Leah as Jacob’s wife?

              • It is through the line of Leah and Jacob that Jesus is born

              • We may not understand all that God is doing through His sovereign will, but we can trust Him to accomplish His perfect plan and purpose for us

              • Are you struggling to understand what God is doing in your life right now?

              • Do you need to trust in His sovereign will?

              • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust in God’s sovereign will for my life, even when I do not understand.

            • Laban already had his defense planned, because he knew that Jacob would uncover his ruse

          • Laban’s defense

            • Laban explains the custom of his people

              • They do not give the younger daughter in marriage before the older daughter

              • This custom was not something that was taken lightly, because it could threaten the very core of their society [Hamilton, 263]

              • Did Laban have this planned the whole time and just waited for seven years to spring the trap?

              • Probably not

              • Perhaps he thought that during the seven year service period, Leah would get married to someone else and when that did not happen, he saw a way to make sure that Leah would get married [Gangel & Bramer, 246]

              • While that might have been Laban’s thought process, God’s sovereignty superseded his plans

            • Laban used the custom of his people to defend his deceptive actions, but he also had a proposal for Jacob

          • Laban’s proposal

            • “If you work for me for another seven years, I will give you Rachel as a second wife in a week”

            • Laban required Jacob to finish the bridal week with Leah before he would give Rachel to him

          • Jacob agrees to the proposal

            • Jacob honored his marriage to Leah, even though he entered it unaware

              • “Once Jacob engages in sexual relations with the virgin Leah, the action is irrevocable, requiring Jacob to fulfill his honorable duty to the woman (cf. Exod 22:16; Deut 22:28-29).” ​​ [Mathews, 469]

              • Through this we see the developing character of Jacob

              • He accepts responsibility for Leah, because he recognizes that marriage is sacred and sexual union is sacred and binding

              • PRINCIPLE #3 – Marriage and sexual union are sacred!

                • Jacob certainly recognized this and acted accordingly

                • Our culture today, including some within the church, have cheapened sexual union and marriage

                • More often than not, those who are getting married, have already been sexually active prior to marriage and potentially they have cohabited with each other prior to marriage

                • Christianity Today did research on whether divorce rates are lower for religious people vs. nonreligious people

                  • “Without controls for age at marriage or an indicator for premarital cohabitation, women with a religious upbringing do have slightly lower likelihoods of divorce . . . the annual divorce rate among married women with a nonreligious upbringing is around 5 percent. ​​ For religious women, it’s around 4.5 percent.” ​​ []

                  • When premarital cohabitation is included the rates are still about the same for religious and nonreligious, yet more couples who cohabitate before marriage get divorced than those who do not

                • What does the Bible have to say about sex before marriage and sex within marriage?

                  • Galatians 5:19, The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: ​​ sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;

                  • Ephesians 5:3, But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

                  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: ​​ that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God;

                  • 1 Corinthians 7:2, But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.

                  • Hebrews 13:4, Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

                • The Bible is clear that marriage and sexual union are sacred, especially among followers of Jesus Christ

                • We need to return to the standard of the Bible

                • So, I would be remiss if I did not exhort those, who are practicing sexual immorality, to abstain from it until you are married

                • This will take a lot of self-control, but that is what Paul challenged the Thessalonian believers to do – control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable

                • Accountability will be the key – you have to have another person, of the same sex, holding you accountable

                • It is doable, it is possible, because of the Holy Spirit that lives within every believer, but it will not be easy

            • After Jacob honored his commitment to Leah, Laban allowed Jacob to marry Rachel as well

            • Again we see the narrators note about Rachel’s maidservant, Bilhah, who had been Laban’s servant girl

            • Jacob kept the marriage bed sacred by waiting to marry Rachel until after the bridal week with Leah

              • Perhaps this particular situation with Jacob and his two sister-wives is what brought about the law found in Leviticus 18:18, “Do not take your wife’s sister as a rival wife and have sexual relations with her while your wife is living.”

              • As we will see in the weeks ahead, having two sisters for wives was going to cause some problems

              • Abraham understood the difficulties of having two wives

              • Multiple wives is not what God designed for marriage

              • His design for marriage was one man and one woman for a lifetime

            • We see this unfortunate note at the end of this section that Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah (notice that it does not say that Jacob did not love Leah)

        • Jacob honors his agreement with Laban by working another seven years for him (again we see Jacob’s character developing and growing)


  • YOU

    • Is there a situation in your life, right now, that you need to patiently wait for God’s timing and plan to accomplish?

    • Do you need to trust in God’s sovereign plan for your life, even if you do not understand?


  • WE

    • As a body of believers, is there something that we need to patiently wait on God for?

    • Is there something we need to trust God’s sovereign plan to accomplish?



“There's a new reality dating show on Netflix called, ‘Love is Blind,’ that tries to test whether relationships can be successful based on emotional connection rather than physical appearance. Couples are placed in separate rooms for a series of ‘dates’ where they get to know each other without being able to see each other until the big moment when they're ready to get engaged. Then the engaged couples get a month to spend time face-to-face before a marriage ceremony that proves whether a blind beginning can guarantee true love.


The show’s creator explains the popularity of the show in a time where social media and dating apps make so much of outward appearance: ‘Everyone wants to be loved for who they are on the inside. It doesn’t matter where you live, what you look like, how old you are, what your background is, which class you know, or social structure you feel like you’re a part of, everyone wants to be loved for who they are.’


But is blind love the way to love someone as they truly are? The British writer G.K. Chesterton once wrote, ‘Love is not blind; that is the last thing that it is. Love is bound; and the more it is bound the less it is blind.’ Chesterton argued that real love depends on commitment. The way to love someone as they truly are is to vow to love them no matter what comes, and the more one is committed to the vows of marriage, the less blind they are to the real person who desires to be loved.


Source: “Love is Blind” Netflix (February, 2020); Meredith Woerner, “How Netflix’s New Reality Series ‘Love Is Blind’ Works,” Variety (2-14-20); G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (NuVision Publications, 2007), p. 57.






Have you ever experienced delays, changes of plans, or redirections in your everyday life? Have you ever felt that God is leading you somewhere you weren’t planning to go and you end up meeting someone you weren’t planning to meet? Have you ever had a coincidence that was so special that it seemed as if God had to be involved in it? Psalm 37:23 declares that “the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.” God orders, arranges, and establishes the details of the lives of those who are following and are surrendered to him. God is sovereign, all-knowing, and all-powerful and if we are willing to let the Holy Spirit lead us, God can and will use us to do miraculous things in the lives of the people he brings us in contact with.

God will give us encounters with another person(s) that God has specifically and unmistakably arranged. The Holy Spirit sets up these encounters because someone needs what He can offer them through you. You may be one conversation away from God doing something awesome in your life or in the life of the person he brought you to. Our prayers for God’s will to be done in our lives opens up divine appointments and the conversations that can come from them. Our words and actions are powerful, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant. God can lead his followers to cross another person’s path, resulting in amazing things, if they are willing to submit to his leading and guiding through the Holy Spirit. Throughout the Bible we find many examples of divine appointments:

In John 4, Jesus has a divine appointment with a Samaritan woman at the village well and her life was changed along with those in her village. In 1 Kings 17, Elijah had a divine appointment with the Widow of Zarephath, who had nothing so that God could provide for her and her family supernaturally as a result of her faith. In Acts 16, Paul was directed by God to go to Macedonia where he ended up in jail. There he had a divine appointment to bring salvation to a jailer and his family. In Acts 8, Phillip had a divine appointment with the Ethiopian Eunuch where he was able to open up the scriptures to him. The Ethiopian Eunuch believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and was baptized.

This morning we are going to be studying Genesis 29:1-14a where we find Jacob again on his journey to find the family of his mother’s brother Laban. He was instructed by his father to go there and take a wife who would be the next mother of the covenant people. Last week Pastor Stuart showed us Jacob’s encounter with God at Bethel. There God promised to always be with Jacob and Jacob vowed that the Lord would be his God. Jacob had finally surrendered to God and God ordered, arranged and established his steps to a divine appointment in Paddan Aram or Haran. There he would meet his mother’s brother, Laban, and his daughter Rachel and other members of his extended family.

If we are continually seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit and letting Him determine where we are best suited to serve Him, we will providentially be given divine appointments where God’s will can be done on this earth. Imagine walking in the Spirit as God gives us divine appointments using us to help those in need physical, emotionally, financially and spiritually. That brings us to our big idea this morning, which is, for Christ followers, there are no coincidences, only divine appointments.

Before we begin our study of this divine appointment let’s dedicate our time to the Lord. Dear Heavenly Father, pour out your Holy Spirit on us and open our hearts and minds to what you want us to hear, learn and share this morning. Thank you for your only son who was crucified, dead and buried and rose again on the third day. May we never forget his sacrifice and love for us as we strive to love one another in the same way. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

There are two points to the message: Providence and Performance. We will begin with Providence found in Genesis 24:1-8. This is what God’s Word says, “Then Jacob set out on his journey, and went to the land of the people of the east. He looked, and saw a well in the field, and behold, three flocks of sheep were lying there beside it, because they watered the flocks from that well. Now the stone on the mouth of the well was large. When all the flocks were gathered there, they would roll the stone from the mouth of the well and water the sheep. Then they would put the stone back in its place on the mouth of the well. Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where are you from?” And they said, “We are from Haran.” So he said to them, “Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?” And they said, “We know him.” And he said to them, “Is it well with him?” And they said, “It is well, and here is his daughter Rachel coming with the sheep.” Then he said, “Look, it is still high day; it is not time for the livestock to be gathered. Water the sheep, and go, pasture them.” But they said, “We cannot, until all the flocks are gathered, and they roll the stone from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep.”

The first thing we notice is the word “then” which is referring to the events that were recorded at the end of chapter 28. If you remember from last week, Jacob had a dream of a stairway resting on the earth with its top reaching to heaven. There were angels ascending and descending and the Lord, the God of Abraham and Isaac, spoke to Jacob there. He made the Abrahamic covenant with Jacob, promising to him and his descendants the land he was lying on, that his descendants would be like the dust of the earth, and that all people would be blessed through him and his offspring. The Lord also promised to be with Jacob, to watch over him wherever he went, to bring him back to the Promised Land and that he would not leave him until he had done all that he promised. Jacob took the stone that was under his head and set it up as a pillar and worshipped God vowing that the Lord would be his God.

It is from this encounter with the Lord that Jacob “set out” on his journey. The literal translation of “set out” is he “picked up his feet” meaning that Jacob now had a “spring to his step.” The experience with the Lord at Bethel had renewed Jacob’s faith to continue this long journey and the promises encouraged him after essentially being exiled from his home. The hand of God was directing Jacob. We are told that he came to the land of the “eastern peoples.” Normally, Genesis is more specific with its directions so the lack of specificity might imply that Jacob didn’t know exactly where he was going. He was going to a distant, alien and foreign land to find his mother’s brother’s family and Goldingay says, it would be “like looking for a needle in a haystack.” Jacob was going to have to rely on God to direct him to exactly the right place, at the right time, and to the right person if he was going to locate his mother’s brother, Laban, and take a wife from one of his daughters.

Also, in Genesis, going east has meant going away from the presence of God. It meant “judgment” in Genesis 3:23 as God sent Adam and Eve east out of the Garden of Eden and in Genesis 4:16 as Cain left the presence of the Lord and settled even farther east of Eden. Going east has also meant vanity as Lot chose the outward “well-watered” appearance of Sodom and journeyed eastward to eventually dwell there. Abraham sent his servant back east to his homeland to find Isaac a wife but Isaac wasn’t supposed to go there. And now Jacob has been sent to the “eastern peoples” to find a wife. We will see in the coming weeks that his journey will be filled with many heartaches and it will not be until Jacob journeys west back to the Promised Land that he will have peace.

Next we notice Jacob comes to a well in the field. Wells have been a theme so far in the lives of the patriarchs as they were signs of God’s blessings. We have seen Abraham digging wells and prospering in the future promised land, Isaac found water every time he dug a well, Abraham’s servant is led by God to a well where he found a wife for Isaac and now Jacob will meet his future wife and the next mother in the covenant line at this divine appointment at a well. Wells again become a place where Yahweh will provide. The phrase “in the field” reminds us where Isaac and Rebekah first met each other. Next we notice the word “behold” in verse 2, “He looked and saw a well in the field, and behold, three flocks of sheep were lying there beside it.” We are reminded of that same word in chapter 28:12, “And he had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth” and verse 13, “Then behold, the Lord was standing above it.” The three-fold use of “behold” indicates Jacob’s success in finding the right place. The promises given to him at Bethel will begin to find fulfillment in this divine appointment at the well.

Jacob sees three flocks of sheep lying near the well because the flocks were watered from this well. There was also a large stone covering the mouth of the well. The narrator proceeds to explain the practice of the watering of the sheep at this well. When all the flocks had gathered at the well, the shepherds would roll the stone away from the well’s mouth, water all the flocks of sheep and then put the stone back in place. The repetition of the size of the stone and the need for all the flocks to be there before removing it implies that the stone was too large for one shepherd to move it by themselves. It will later reinforce Jacob’s strength that was given to him by God to move it. The use of the large stone and this practice was probably for at least three reasons. One, it would keep the well from being contaminated. Two, it would ensure that the well couldn’t be filled in by enemies. Three, only those who were supposed to use the well could. This reminds us that water in the desert was a valuable commodity.

This was the scene when Jacob arrived at the well. He engages the shepherds there in conversation about where they were from. He finds out that there are from Haran which is probably the closest city to the well. He then asked if they knew Laban, the grandson of Nahor and they replied that they did. Jacob inquired about his well-being and the shepherds said that Laban was well. They then announced that his daughter, Rachel, was approaching the well at this very moment with the sheep. This was a fulfillment of God’s promise to Jacob in 28:15 that “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.” We aren’t told if Jacob thanked, praised and worshipped the Lord for his providential leading to the right place, at the right time and to the right person. Because we aren’t told we can believe that he didn’t and the narrator wants us to contrast Jacob with Abraham’s servant.

The Lord will order, arrange, and establish divine appointments for those who are following and are surrendered to him. Big Idea. It is important to thank, praise and worship the Lord when we recognize his providential hand working in our lives. That brings us to the first next step on the back of your communication card. My next step is to thank, praise and worship the Lord when I recognize his providential hand at work in my life.

Instead of worshipping the Lord for his providence, Jacob proceeds to arrogantly question what the shepherds are doing just sitting around. He seems to insult them by telling them how to do their job. We can imagine how they felt to have an outsider command them to get their sheep watered and out to pasture? Jacob’s rational was that it was “still high day” meaning it was around noon and wasn’t yet time for the sheep to be gathered. The sheep were usually gathered at the end of the day in order to lead them back home. We aren’t told why Jacob tried to insist the shepherds get the well open, water their sheep and get them back to pasture. Maybe he wanted them to leave before Rachel showed up so he could meet her alone. Maybe he thought it would impress her to have the well open when she arrived. She would be able to water her sheep right away and he could take the credit for it. We notice that even after Jacob is told about the “way things work”, he doesn’t hesitate to disregard it.

The shepherds repeat what the narrator told us in verse 3, that they were not allowed to move the stone and water the sheep until all the flocks were gathered. The repetition tells us that this practice or custom was important. It was probably something like a covenant or contract between the shepherds. This would ensure that the well wasn’t contaminated or sabotaged and the proper shepherds were using it. Walton says, these types of “contracts were necessary where water is scarce and distrust is often warranted.”

The second point this morning is Performance found in Genesis 24:9-14. This is what God’s word says, “While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. When Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of his mother’s brother Laban, and the sheep of his mother’s brother Laban, Jacob went up and rolled the stone from the mouth of the well, and watered the flock of his mother’s brother Laban. Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and raised his voice and wept. Jacob told Rachel that he was a relative of her father and that he was Rebekah’s son, and she ran and told her father. So when Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister’s son, he ran to meet him, and embraced him and kissed him, and brought him to his house. Then he told Laban all these things. And Laban said to him, “You certainly are my bone and my flesh.”

Jacob was still speaking with the shepherds when Rachel arrives at the well. We are told that Rachel is a shepherdess and that the sheep are her father, Laban’s. The narrator wants us to know that Rachel was performing a real job with real responsibility and would be a capable patriarch’s wife just as Rebekah was. Since the shepherds refuse to move the stone, Jacob takes things into his own hands and single-handedly moves the stone from the mouth of the well and water’s his “uncles” sheep. Gangel and Bramer say, “Jacob says nothing he just simply performs.” And Mathews says, “The servant worshipped the Lord when he discovered Rebekah’s identity, Jacob flexed his muscles, proving his capacity to serve Laban’s house.” The narrator is contrasting Jacob’s energy with the shepherd’s laid-back or lazy approach. The three-fold repetition of “mother’s brother Laban” in verse 10 implies that Jacob is not trying to impress Rachel for her own sake but trying to impress her to get to her father, Laban.

Jacob had been told to go to the house of his mother’s father Bethuel and find a wife from among the daughters of Laban. He knew that the first order of business was to get to Laban and his way to Laban was to impress one of his daughters. At every turn God had ordered and directed Jacob’s path. He was led to a well outside of Haran where they knew Laban and he came face to face with his daughter. This was a divine appointment orchestrated by God for his chosen man to find a wife that would continue the covenant promises for his chosen and covenant people. ​​ Big Idea.

We may not have expected what happens next: Jacob kissed Rachel and then raised his voice and wept. Usually men would kiss another man as a greeting but it would not have been normal for a man to kiss a women like this. This was probably not a romantic kiss because Jacob was more intent on getting to Laban at this point in the narrative. Why did Jacob weep? Maybe he didn’t forget that it was God who had providentially guided him to exactly the right place, at exactly the right time and to exactly the right person. He was probably overwhelmed with emotion as he thought about the providence and promises of God. God had kept his promises to be with him and to watch over him as he journeyed from Canaan to Haran.

Then Jacob told Rachel he is a relative of her father and a son of Rebekah. And just like Rebekah did, Rachel, ran to tell her father. That Rachel’s response was the same as Rebekah’s indicates that she was to be the next mother in the covenant line. As soon as Laban heard about Jacob he ran to meet him, embraced him and kissed him and brought his to his home. Laban was even more demonstrative than Jacob was. The first hearers may have been reminded of Jacob kissing his father in bad faith and thinking about the things that would transpire between Laban and Jacob in the not so distant future. We aren’t told what Laban was thinking when he heard about Jacob’s arrival. He may have been thinking back a hundred years ago when Abraham’s servant came looking for a wife for Isaac. Abraham’s servant had brought gold and silver jewelry, clothing and costly gifts for his sister and the family. Wiersbe says, “Abraham sent a caravan with his servant to find Isaac a wife. Isaac sent Jacob to find a wife with nothing.” ​​ We aren’t told if Laban was disappointed when he met Jacob and noticed that he had no entourage and no gifts with him. But true to form he extended his hospitality and brought him into his home.

At Laban’s home, Jacob told him “all these things.” We are not told what Jacob recounted to Laban. Maybe, like Abraham’s servant, Jacob told him about what happened at the well. The servant told Laban about how God sent him to the right place at the right time and to the right person. He gave God the glory and worshipped as he told Laban the whole story. Again, it is telling that the narrator doesn’t mention Jacob gave God glory for this divine appointment. He probably told Laban why he was there (which was to marry one of his daughters) and what his plans were for his future (which was to take said daughter and return to Canaan). We can also surmise that Jacob told Laban about single-handedly moving the stone from the mouth of the well and watering his sheep. Jacob probably thought this would ingratiate himself with Laban and convince him to let him stay awhile in his home and work for him. Laban may have been thinking he had a prospect of a strong and healthy worker which could possibly make up for the lack of the bride price. As we will see in the next few weeks this is exactly what took place.

Laban then proclaimed that Jacob was “my bone and my flesh.” In the ancient near east the ties of family were very strong and if you were visiting relatives you were given every hospitality in their home even if you had never met them. This reminds us what Adam joyously said when God brought Eve to him in Genesis 2:23a, “At last this is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” Jacob had found the family, through the providence of God, in which he could take a fitting bride for himself, just like Adam. The phrase also implies a reciprocal commitment or oath was made between Laban and Jacob. Laban had instituted a bond of sorts between nephew and uncle. As we will see later in the narrative that phrase will prove that Jacob and Laban were “cut from the same cloth.”

I heard a story a couple weeks ago from a youth pastor friend of mine. His son is going to be a missionary to Muslims and is discerning which country to go to. He follows some Christian leaders on Instagram and from one of those he received an Instagram direct message that was hidden because it was from someone that he was not followers with. The message was from a Muslim man in West Africa asking if he was a Christian and if so, could he tell him about how to become a Christian. It seems that he had sent the same message out to a bunch of people and my youth pastor friend’s son was the first to respond. So he shared the gospel with this man through Instagram and the man accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. That was a divine appointment sent from God to my youth pastor friend’s son. He was prepared and obedient and immediately took the opportunity to act on that divine appointment. I would like to go just a little farther with this story. This man is the only believer in his village. He had previously told his father he wanted to become a Christian and his father beat him and his friends left him. This man also told some orphans in his village about Jesus and they accepted him as their Lord and Savior. This Muslim man has continued to talk with my youth pastor friend’s son and wants to know how to get baptized. This divine appointment is ongoing and far-reaching.

There are three specific things we can do to capture the divine appointments God has for us. One, pray for divine appointments. How do we as Christians allow the Holy Spirit to make such appointments for us? The answer is prayer! Every morning when we get up, we should be praying that the Holy Spirit leads us to a divine appointment or appointments. Two, we need to be prepared for divine appointments. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 4:2, “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season.” 1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” If we start looking for “divine appointments,” we will find them. By making ourselves available to God, we will see things happen that we would have never expected. He will give us eyes to see and ears to hear, the who, what, when and where of our divine appointments. Three, we must be ready to act on the opportunity of a divine appointment like my youth pastor friend’s son did. Divine appointments happen in the regular course of our lives so we need to be prepared to act at all times.

Divine appointments are about how much God cares about His people. God will order, arrange and establish the details of your life if you are truly following and are surrendered to him. I encourage you to look for those opportunities and moments in your everyday life when God is wanting to use you as a divinely appointed son or daughter to be a source of hope, comfort, and love to those he brings you in contact with. That brings us to the second next step on the back of your communication card which is to daily pray for, prepare for and be ready to act on the divine appointments God places in front of me.

As the praise team come forward to lead us in a final song, let’s pray: Heavenly Father, I pray that we would leave this place today watching for your providential hand working in our lives. When we recognize it I pray that we would thank, praise and worship you for it. I also pray that each one of us would pray for, prepare for and be ready to act on the divine appointments you lead us to in our everyday lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Transformed Trek

(Genesis 28:10-22)



“As [one researcher has] described it, our brain blinds our mind to the unusual. For instance, in one study, researchers put a clown on a unicycle in the path of pedestrians. The researchers asked people who walked passed the clown if they had noticed anything unusual. Everybody saw him unless they had been on their cell phone. Three out of every four people who had been using their phone did not see the clown. They looked back in astonishment, unable to believe they had missed him. They had looked straight at him but had not registered his presence. The unicycling clown crossed their paths but not their minds.”


Source: Kevin Ashton, How to Fly a Horse (Doubleday, 2015), page 97.





  • ME

    • Walking our dog

        • I had a similar situation recently when walking our dog, Red

        • We were at the top of the orchard by the cornfield and I was looking at my cell phone, when I heard loud hoof steps

        • I looked up just in time to see the tail end of a deer

        • I couldn’t tell how big it was and I never saw the head to know whether it was buck or a doe

        • When Red and I made it back down to the garden, Judy told me that a large, trophy buck had come running down out of the orchard, crossed the bridge, saw her in the garden, turned right and ran along the creek, crossed Peach Glen/Idaville Road, and went into the woods

        • I’m fairly certain that was the deer that Red and I saw the tail end of

        • Had I not been looking at my cell phone, I may have seen that buck for myself

    • Other times I’ve missed seeing things

        • That is not the first time I have missed seeing something because of looking at my cell phone

        • Judy points stuff out to me from time-to-time, but I’ve missed it because of looking at something on my cell phone


  • WE

    • Cell phones – how many of us have missed seeing certain things because of looking at our cell phones?

    • Other distractions – cell phones are the only thing that distracts us from seeing things (it can happen when we are driving, it can happen while reading the newspaper or a magazine, it can happen while focusing on a conversation with another person, or having our back turned when something happens)

    • We can be distracted in our spiritual journey by the busyness of life (health issues, family dynamics, financial concerns, school, fears, anxiety, depression, addictions, etc.) and miss that God is present with us in all of those situations


Jacob is on the run from his brother and on a mission to find a wife when God transforms his trek. ​​ The Lord appears to him in a dream and promises him several things. ​​ Jacob then worships the Lord and makes a vow to the Lord. ​​ The author of Genesis wants us to understand today that . . .


BIG IDEA – God’s presence transforms our life’s journey.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Genesis 28:10-22)

    • Introduction (v. 10)

        • There is no need to restate who Jacob is supposed to go to in Paddan Aram/Haran, since Isaac had just mentioned it at the beginning of this chapter

        • The original hearer would have listened to the entire book of Genesis at one setting and not broken into multiple messages like we are doing, so just mentioning that Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran, is enough

        • It tells us what we need to know – Jacob was obedient to the command that Isaac had given him

        • This section of Scripture gives us more detail about Jacob’s journey

        • It expands what the author says in Genesis 28:5, Then Isaac sent Jacob on his way, and he went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, who was the mother of Jacob and Esau

        • This verse makes it sound like Jacob left and arrived, with no details about the journey in between

        • Interesting enough, the only narrative about his journey is this section about the dream he has in a certain place (he names it Bethel)

    • Dream (vv. 11-15)

        • Jacob had traveled a couple of days from Beersheba (about 60 miles) when he came to a certain place

          • At this point, Jacob is not aware of the significance of the place where he stops for the night

          • It is just a random place that he chose because the sun was going down

          • It was not a random place for the sovereign Lord

          • Jacob will understand that after his dream

        • The sun was setting, so he decided to stop for the night and sleep there

        • He took a stone and used it as a pillow

          • The literal translation is that Jacob “put it at his head-place”

          • Most translations say that he put it under his head

          • Other translations say that he put it near his head

          • “Our text’s description, however, may indicate simply that ‘the stones of the place’ were positioned nearby the head (cf. 1 Sam 19:13, 16; 26:7, 11, 16; 1 Kgs 19:6). ​​ This appears to be the interpretation of the LXX (pros kephalās autou, ‘on the side of’ or ‘at his head’), which renders the Hebrew consistently at each Old Testament passage, including 28:11, 18. ​​ If this is the proper interpretation, the stones provided a makeshift enclosure for his head.” ​​ [Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1B, Genesis 11:27-50:26, 449]

          • If the stones were “at his head” he could use them for protection in the middle of the night or to keep critters from crawling around his head while he slept

          • Whether the stone(s) were used for a pillow or protection is not what is most important

        • The dream

          • Stairway

            • Scholars are torn about what Jacob saw in his dream

              • Some say it was a ladder and others say it was a stairway like one would find on the side of a ziggurat

              • Because the Hebrew word is so unique, it is hard to translate with certainty

              • In our finite human minds, we more readily choose the image of a stairway, because we cannot fathom angels ascending and descending on a ladder at the same time

              • We can wrap our minds around a stairway that would be wide enough to accommodate two-way traffic

            • The stairway was resting on the earth

              • The literal translation of the Hebrew is, “placed toward the earth” [Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary, 390]

              • The literal translation helps us to understand that the stairway originated in heaven and not on earth

              • “[T]he impression is made that the narrator wishes to express that the communication between heaven and earth is established by an initiative from on high, on [the] part of God. ​​ The contact between heaven and earth exists by the grace of God.” ​​ [Houtman cited by Waltke, 390]

            • “Jesus is now the nexus between God and humankind.” [Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 18-50, 250]

              • Jesus referenced this dream sequence in when talking to Nathanael in John, chapter 1

              • Read John 1:47-51

              • Jesus is now the “ladder” between heaven and earth

                • 1 Timothy 2:5, For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus

                • Ephesians 2:18, For through him [Jesus] we both have access to the Father by one Spirit

                • Gospel

                  • Romans 3:23; 6:23

                  • Romans 5:8

                  • Read John 3:16-18

                • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Believe in Jesus and receive God’s eternal life.

              • This is great news for us today

            • During Jacob’s dream the stairway was in use by the angels of God

          • Angels

            • We know that angels are God’s messengers

            • Those descending were probably taking messages from God to his created beings

            • The angels ascending were reporting back to God

            • “The angels upon it carry up the wants of men to God, and bring down the assistance and protection of God to men.” ​​ [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 180]

            • The Lord is a part of this dream also

          • The promise

            • The Lord’s position

              • There is discussion amongst scholars as to where the Lord is standing

              • Some believe that He is standing at the top of the stairway, which is conceivable, as He would be directing the angels who are coming and going

              • Others believe that He is beside Jacob at the bottom of the stairway, and they reference the fact that the author uses the word “said” instead of “called” and that Jacob then mentions that the Lord is in this place

              • Once again the location of the Lord is secondary to the message/promise from the Lord

            • “The same God who had cared for his father and grandfather pledged to care for him and to give him the very land on which he was lying.” ​​ [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 124]

            • Five-fold promise

              • Property (v. 13b)

                • The Lord promised to give Jacob and his descendants the land that he was lying on

                • This is the Promised Land

              • Progeny (v. 14)

                • Jacob’s descendants will be like the dust of the earth

                • This is just another way of restating the promise given to Abraham in Genesis 22:17 (stars in the sky, sand on the seashore)

                • He was going to have many descendants

                • They were going to spread out in all directions throughout the Promised Land

                • Everyone on earth will be blessed through Jacob and his offspring

                • “This is the same promise given to Abraham. ​​ When Abraham received the promise, he was married but childless; Jacob has not yet even found a bride.” ​​ [Waltke, 391]

              • Presence (v. 15a, d)

                • The Lord says He is with Jacob

                  • This would have been encouraging for Jacob, especially since he had been deceptive with his father and brother

                  • Perhaps Jacob wondered if God was with him, because of his sin

                  • We may be wondering the same thing today, “Is God with us, because of our sin?”

                  • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is always with His people.

                  • The problem is that our unconfessed sin separates us from the Lord

                  • Isaiah 59:2, But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

                  • 1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

                  • Hebrews 13:5b-6, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  ​​​​ So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. ​​ What can man do to me?”

                  • Whatever you are going through today – financial, physical, relational, emotional, or spiritual – the Lord is with you!

                  • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Claim the promise that God is always with me and will never turn His back on me.

                • The Lord promises not to leave Jacob until He has done what He has promised

                  • Jacob could have confidence that the Lord would provide property, progeny, protection and preservation, because the Lord always keeps His promises

                  • We can have the same confidence, today, that Jacob had

                  • PRINCIPLE #2 – God always keeps His promises.

                  • 2 Peter 3:8-9, But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: ​​ With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. ​​ The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. ​​ He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

                  • The Lord provides promises to His people throughout Scripture

                  • We can have confidence that He will keep those promises to us

                  • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust that the Lord will keep His promises to me.

                • The Lord not only promised His presence with Jacob, but also His protection

              • Protection (v. 15b)

                • The Lord’s protection would be with Jacob wherever he went

                • This promise did not have geographical boundaries

                • The Lord was not going to protection Jacob only in the Promised Land

                • His protection would extend to Haran (Mesopotamia)

                • The Lord’s protection does not have geographical boundaries for us either – He is with us wherever we go

                  • Joshua 1:9, Have I not commanded you? ​​ Be strong and courageous. ​​ Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

                  • Matthew 28:20, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. ​​ And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

                • We can claim the promise of God’s protection, because He is with us wherever we go

              • Preservation (v. 15c)

                • God promised to bring Jacob back to the Promised Land

                • Since He had promised to give Jacob the land where he was lying down, it only makes sense that the Lord would bring him back to the land

                • Jacob had to go away to mature and develop in his faith

                • Once that process was complete, the Lord would bring him back to the Promised Land

              • “Lest Jacob harbor any remaining doubt about his father’s words issued earlier in this chapter, he now had direct confirmation from on high.” ​​ [Gangel & Bramer, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, 235]

        • All of this took place while Jacob was dreaming, but he is about to wake up

    • Devotion (vv. 16-19)

        • Jacob’s realization

          • Jacob’s first thought after waking up was that the Lord was in this place, but he was not aware of it

            • “Not that the omnipresence of God was unknown to him; but that Jehovah in His condescending mercy should be near to him even here, far away from his father’s house and from the places consecrated to His worship, – it was this which he did not know or imagine.” ​​ [Keil & Delitzsch, 181]

            • “An atheist and a Christian were engaged in an intense public debate. ​​ On the blackboard behind the podium, the atheist printed in large capital letters, ‘GOD IS NO WHERE.’ ​​ When the Christian rose to offer his rebuttal, he rubbed out the W at the beginning of where and added that letter to the preceding word no. ​​ Then the statement read, ‘GOD IS NOW HERE.’”

              Vernon Grounds, Radical Commitment. ​​ Christianity Today, Vol. 30, no. 7.

            • Jacob realized that the Lord was present everywhere

            • PRINCIPLE #3 – God is omnipresent!

              • This is one of God’s many attributes

              • This attribute is still true of Him today

              • He is present with us, no matter where we are

              • He is with us at home, at work, at school, on vacation, on a mission trip, on a business trip, at the grocery store, at the gas station, at a restaurant, etc.

              • This is a truth that should bring us great peace

            • The Lord’s presence brought fear to Jacob

          • Jacob was afraid

            • Perhaps Jacob was afraid, because he realized the sin of deception was known by the Lord

            • The presence of the holy Lord made Jacob acutely aware of his sinfulness

            • Jacob recognized that he was in God’s house, the gate of heaven – it was an awesome place!

            • Have you ever experienced the presence of God in His creation and thought to yourself, “This is such an awesome place!”

            • When you are struggling with something, you may return to that place to find solace, peace, and comfort

            • It is a place where you can slow down and focus on the Lord and His presence with you

            • It’s a place where God’s presence transforms your life’s journey

          • The only appropriate response for Jacob, when he realizes God’s presence, is worship

        • Jacob’s worship

          • We are not told if Jacob went back to sleep after waking up ​​ from the dream, but we know that early the next morning he made a memorial to commemorate what he had experienced

          • He took the pillow and made it into a pillar

          • He consecrated it by pouring oil on it

          • Then he named the place Bethel, which means “house of God”

          • PRINCIPLE #4 – God is pleased when we create ways to remember His presence with us and His promises to us.

            • What “pillars” have you set up to remember to worship the Lord for His presence with you and/or promises to you?

            • These are not idols to worship, but rather things that remind us of what God has done for us, so we can worship Him

            • Perhaps a decoration that you purchase reminds you of what the Lord has done for you (picture, sculpture, another object, etc.)

            • I want to encourage you to consider ways in which you can be reminded of God’s goodness to you and His presence with you

            • Those items can help to focus you when times get difficult, because they are reminders of a faithful God who is always with you and promises to provide and protect you

        • Jacob worshiped the Lord, but he also made a declaration to the Lord in the form of a vow

    • Declaration (vv. 20-22)

        • The vow that Jacob makes is not a bargain with God

          • “Jacob was asking no more than the fulfillment of God’s self-imposed obligations delivered in the dream sequence (v. 15).” ​​ [Mathews, 454]

          • “Jacob is throwing himself on God’s mercy, not calculating whether to accept God.” ​​ [Hamilton, 248]

          • The “if . . . then” statement can also be translated, “since”

          • When translated as “since,” the statement moves from sounding like a bargain with God to an affirmation of faith in God [Wiersbe, 124]

            • Jacob is affirming that God will:

              • Be with him

              • Protect him

              • Provide for him

              • Preserve him (bring him back to the Promised Land)

            • Jacob knows that the Lord is able to do all of things

          • [Read vv. 20-21 with “since” replacing “if” and removing “then”]

        • Jacob’s promises to God

          • The Lord will be his God

          • He will build a shrine of worship

            • The stone pillar is where Jacob will establish a place of worship to the Lord, when he returns

            • We know that Bethel was established as a place of worship

          • He will tithe a tenth of his holdings

            • Jacob’s wealth would eventually be in flocks and herds, which he will offer as sacrifices to the Lord at Bethel

            • This is a voluntary tithe to the Lord and not something that was forced upon him

            • A tenth of our income as a tithe to the Lord is a great principle and starting point, but it is not taught in the New Testament

              • “The principle now is: ​​ ‘Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously’ (2 Cor. 9:6; cf. Gal. 6:9). ​​ Christians are to do so eagerly, generously, and cheerfully, the amount depending on one’s level of prosperity . . . Our practice should reflect the abundant generosity called for in the New Testament. ​​ But all too often, Christians tithe in order not to give too much and pastors teach tithing to assure that people give enough!” ​​ [Waltke, 397-98]

              • Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-8

            • PRINCIPLE #5 – God’s desire is that we honor Him through our giving.

              • Jacob was willing to voluntarily commit a tenth of his holdings as a tithe, because He knew that the Lord would keep His promises to him

              • His tithe was a recognition of his gratitude to the Lord for the promise of property, progeny, presence, protection, and preservation

              • I have one simple question for every one today – does your giving to the Lord show your gratitude to Him for his promise of property, progeny, presence, protection, and preservation?

              • Each individual has to answer that question for themselves

              • #4 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Give to the Lord in such a way that it shows my gratitude for all that He has done for me.

          • God’s presence with Jacob transformed his life’s journey

        • God’s presence transforms our life’s journey.


  • YOU

    • Are you ready to believe in Jesus and receive God’s eternal life?

    • Do you need to claim the promise of God’s presence with you today?

    • Do you need to trust that the Lord will keep His promises to you?

    • Does your giving reflect a heart of gratitude for all that the Lord has done for you?


  • WE

    • We can claim the promise of God’s presence with us as a body of believers

    • We need to trust that God will keep His promises to us

    • Our giving as a church should reflect our gratitude to the Lord for all He has done for us



“Spiritual experiences are not a matter of finding God, nor are they a matter of waiting till God fairly screams, ‘Look, here I am!’ Spiritual experiences surround us. We fall over them dozens of times a day. We can't avoid them if we try. A spiritual experience is simply a matter of recognizing and acknowledging our relationship to God in whatever is going on in our lives at the moment. God is involved in all we do and does not pop in and out of our lives. We live surrounded by God. We live and breathe God just as we live and breathe air. To know that either air or God is present, we need only to pause and reflect for an instant to see that we are immersed in them.”


Source: Fr. Gerald Weber in U.S. Catholic (March 1992). Christianity Today, Vol. 36, no. 8.






No Compromise

(Genesis 27:46-28:9)



“In the first season of the popular TV show 24, Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) is a federal agent charged with protecting a presidential candidate from an assassination plot. He was given that responsibility because in the uncertain world of espionage he possesses that rare character trait of integrity.


In the show’s first episode, Jack’s integrity is already put to the test. Because he turned in other federal agents for bribery, some of his own comrades have turned against him. In particular, Jack’s immediate boss has come down hard on him and tried to persuade Jack not to be so honest in his job. Jack has an explosive confrontation with his boss and will not budge on this point. Just after the confrontation, Jack bristles with intensity as he explains his actions to his closest partner.


‘You can look the other way once, and it’s no big deal, except it makes it easier for you to compromise the next time. And pretty soon, that’s all you’re doing, compromising, because that’s how you think things are done. You know those guys I blew the whistle on? You think they were the bad guys? They weren’t the bad guys. They were just like you and me, except they compromised once.’”


Elapsed Time: 00:31:45 to 00:32:30; Season 1, Disc 1, Episode 1

Content: Rated TV-14


Source: 24 (Fox Entertainment, 2001); created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran.





  • ME

    • Staying home with our children

        • When Judy and I were dating, we talked about a lot of things concerning our future

        • One of the things we talked about was children

          • How many children

          • What kind of education we wanted them to have

          • We both agreed that we wanted Judy to stay home with our children for a certain period of time

          • This was something that we did not want to compromise on

          • So, when Judy was expecting our first child we starting putting all of her income into savings and lived off my income to prepare for that transition

    • Teaching at the Children’s Ministry Institute for Child Evangelism Fellowship

        • I had the great privilege of teaching several courses at the Children’s Ministry Institute, including raising personal and ministry finances

        • Each of the students had to create a personal budget

          • There were certain things we encouraged them to consider in their personal budgets

          • One of the exercises with that process was to list everything out and then begin to prioritize each budget item

          • We also had them determine what items were non-negotiable (Christian schooling for their children; a newer vehicle especially for single women; actual steak or tube steaks)

          • Based on what was non-negotiable, they had to make adjustments to the other budget items that were negotiable

        • There were certain things that each individual or couple had determined were items they could not compromise on


  • WE

    • Every one of us has probably been in similar situations where we have had to determine what we are willing to compromise on and what we are unwilling to compromise on

    • We have all had to make decisions about what is negotiable and non-negotiable when it comes to finances, our children, and many other items


As we saw in Genesis 24, Abraham made it clear to his servant chief servant that he was not willing to compromise on a wife for Isaac. ​​ She had to come from his own people in Haran. ​​ We will see today that Isaac and Rebekah are feeling the same way about Jacob and his future wife. ​​ They had experienced grief through Esau’s choice of two Hittite wives (Gen. 26:34-35). ​​ Esau had compromised his standards, but Isaac and Rebekah did not want that to happen with Jacob. ​​ The author of Genesis wants us to understand today that . . .


BIG IDEA – Compromise kills faith.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Genesis 27:46-28:9)

    • Concern (v. 27:46)

        • We already know how Isaac and Rebekah felt about Esau marrying two Hittite women

          • Genesis 26:34-35, When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. ​​ They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.

          • Potentially the grief that Isaac and Rebekah felt over the two Hittite wives was based on women’s religious beliefs and practices

        • Disgust

          • “The word for dismay or disgust (qûṣ) is rare, and on one significant occurrence it describes Yahweh’s attitude to Canaanite religious practices (Lev. 20:23). ​​ This suggests that Rebekah feels a religious revulsion, which the story’s listeners are encouraged to share.” ​​ [Goldingay, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament, Pentateuch, Genesis, 440]

          • Leviticus 20:23, You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. ​​ Because they did all these things, I abhorred them.

            • “These things” included sacrificing their children to Molech, turning to mediums and spiritists, cursing of parents, committing adultery, sleeping with family members and/or in-laws, men sleeping with men and women sleeping with women (homosexuality), marrying both a mother and daughter at the same time, and sexual relations with an animal

            • These are consider detestable to the Lord

            • “The detestable acts listed here were very common in the pagan nations of Canaan; their religions were rampant with sex goddesses, temple prostitution, and other gross sins. ​​ The Canaanites’ immoral religious practices reflected a decadent culture that tended to corrupt whoever came in contact with it.” ​​ [NIV Life Application Bible, footnote for Leviticus 20:10-21]

            • Compromise kills faith.

          • So, it is probable that Rebekah is disgusted by the immoral religious practices of Esau’s two Hittite wives

        • Life not worth living

          • She is convinced that life would not be worth living if Jacob married a Hittite woman

          • This is why she is petitioning Isaac and expressing her concern to him

          • She knows that he shares her feelings about Esau’s two wives

          • This is her way of “helping” Isaac to do what she wants, in order to spare Jacob’s life

        • So, Isaac called for Jacob

    • Command (vv. 28:1-5)

        • We’re told that Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him and gave him a command

          • The command is explained first and then the blessing

          • Imagine what may have been going through Jacob’s mind as he is summoned to his father’s tent – was his father going to scold him for being deceptive?

        • Command (vv. 1-2)

          • Don’t marry

            • Isaac explains to Jacob that he is not to marry a Canaanite woman

            • Canaanites was a broad term for the various nations that lived in the Promised Land at this time

            • The Hittites were one of those nations

          • Marry

            • Go to Paddan Aram ​​ (Northwest Mesopotamia)

            • When you get there go to your grandfather’s house, Bethuel

            • You will find your uncle Laban and his family there

            • Take one of his daughter’s as your wife

          • Isaac immediately transitions from the command to the blessing

        • Blessing (vv. 3-4)

          • We see that Isaac does not even mention the deception of Jacob

          • “Not only did Isaac speak kindly to his son, but also he gave him an extra blessing as he left to go on his journey to Haran.” ​​ [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 123]

          • Two-fold blessing

            • Descendants

              • Isaac asks that El-Shaddai would make Jacob fruitful, so that he would have a large number of descendants

              • “The rhyming combination of “be fruitful” (pārâ) and “increase” (rābâ) reflects creation’s blessing (1:22, 28; 8:17; 9:1, 7) and the divine intention for the Abraham family (17:6, 20), finding its partial achievement in the populous community of Israel (Exod 1:7; Lev 26:9).” ​​ [Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1B, Genesis 11:27-50:26, 440]

              • Isaac’s blessing was that Jacob’s descendants would become a community of peoples

              • Waltke explains that this is a fresh expression of the promise given to Abraham in Genesis 17:6, I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you [Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary, 383]

              • God will fulfill His promise to Abraham through Jacob

              • Isaac’s blessing then turns to the promise given to Abraham about the Promised Land

            • Land

              • Isaac was asking El-Shaddai to give Jacob and his descendants the blessing given to Abraham

              • The blessing is that they would take possession of the land where they were currently living

              • Isaac recognized again that they were living in the Promised Land as aliens

          • Isaac sends Jacob on his way

        • Obedience (v. 5)

          • We see that Jacob obeys his father and goes to Paddan Aram

          • He goes directly to Laban, his uncle, and brother of Rebekah, his mother

          • Application

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is pleased when we obey.

              • God is sovereign and knows what is best for us

              • He knew that it was best for Jacob to return to Paddan Aram to avoid being killed by Esau and to avoid marrying a Hittite woman who could potentially corrupt him into detestable religious worship and practices

              • God was pleased that Jacob obeyed his father, so that the covenant carrier line would remain pure

              • God is pleased when we obey

                • Obeying our parents

                  • Jacob was an adult when his father commanded him not to marry a Canaanite woman and to go to Paddan Aram to find a wife

                  • Jacob obeyed his father, even as an adult

                  • Exodus 20:12, “Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

                  • Deuteronomy 5:16, “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

                  • Ephesians 6:2, “Honor your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise – “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

                  • Honoring our father and mother is a lifelong commandment from the Lord

                  • When we are still living at home, as children under the care and guidance of our parents, we are to obey them, as long as what they are asking us to do does not break God’s Word or the laws of the land

                  • As children, obedience to our parents is important

                  • Ephesians 6:1, Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right

                  • Notice that our obedience is, in the Lord

                  • We obey our parents, because it pleases the Lord

                  • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Honor my father and mother. ​​ (how can you do that today, this week, this month, etc.?)

                  • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Obey my parents, in the Lord, so that God will be pleased. ​​ (children, how can you do that today, this week, this month?)

                • Obeying God

                  • God is pleased when we obey Him

                  • Isaac’s obedience benefited him in two ways: ​​ it saved his physical and spiritual life

                  • “Jacob flees from two threats in his flight to Paddan Aram: ​​ persecution and accommodation. ​​ The physical threat from his brother may have seemed most obviously harmful, but the threat of accommodating the Canaanite lifestyle was just as grave a danger. ​​ Accommodation is as great a threat as persecution to the community of faith.” ​​ [Waltke, 385]

                  • Too often, we as followers of Christ are in the world and of the world, instead of being in the world, but not of the world

                  • John 17:14-16, I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. ​​ My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. ​​ They are not of the world, even as I am not of it

                  • What does it look like to not be of this world?

                  • Romans 12:2, Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. ​​ Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will

                  • Ephesians 4:22-24, You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness

                  • 1 Thessalonians 4:1, Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. ​​ Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more (Paul goes on the tell them to be sanctified)

                  • We are fine with dating someone who is not a follower of Christ (we believe we can save them)

                  • We allow ourselves to indulge in the same things that the world does and think that it will not affect us (foul language, becoming drunk, using marijuana, being intimate before marriage, looking at pornography, lying, gossiping, cheating, stealing, etc.)

                  • Indulging in the things of the world shows that we are still conforming to the pattern of this world – we have not been transformed

                  • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Ask the Lord to protect me from the evil one and to help me be transformed, so I can please Him.

            • God is pleased when we obey Him

          • Jacob pleased the Lord by obeying his father’s command

        • Isaac and Rebekah knew the danger of allowing Jacob to marry a Canaanite woman, so they sent him to Paddan Aram

        • Esau heard about Isaac calling for Jacob and blessing him

    • Compromise (vv. 28:6-9)

        • Esau was informed about the meeting between Isaac and Jacob

          • He was told about the blessing for Jacob’s descendants to be numerous and that God would give Jacob the Promised Land

          • He was also told about the command not to marry a Canaanite woman, but to get a wife from his uncle Laban’s family

          • He also heard that Jacob had been obedient to his father and mother and had gone to Paddan Aram

        • Esau’s realization

          • We are not told why Esau did not realize it sooner, but he realized it now

          • His parents were not pleased with the two Canaanite women he had married

        • Esau’s solution

          • He went to Ishmael’s family and married his daughter Mahalath (makh-al-ath’/mac-hail-ath’)

          • We are not told why her sister Nebaioth (neb-aw-yoth’/nev-a-ah’/nev-aw-yoth’) is mentioned

          • Esau obviously thought that marrying a woman within the line of Abraham would help to appease his parents

          • Esau is once again proving why he is unfit to be the covenant carrier

            • His decision to marry Mahalath is based on pleasing his parents instead of pleasing God (spiritual or religious interests)

            • “. . . Ishmael had been separated from the house of Abraham and family of promise by the appointment of God;” ​​ [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 180]

            • “Esau has no idea of spiritual realities. ​​ All that he is concerned about is to please his parents, and if possible to win back the blessing. ​​ This again shows the real character of the man and the utter absence of any spiritual reality actuating his life. ​​ Esau is one of those who, as it has been truly and accurately said, tries to do what God’s people do in the vain hope that somehow or other it will pleasing to God.” ​​ [Griffith Thomas cited by Gangel & Bramer, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, 234]

          • Esau continued to compromise instead of pursuing the things of God

          • Compromise kills faith

        • Application

          • The same is true for us when we compromise

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – God’s desire is for us to pursue spiritual things.

            • He does not want us to compromise our faith in order to please human beings

            • His desire is that we seek dating relationships with those who are followers of Jesus Christ

            • His desire is that we pursue a transformed and renewed mind and attitudes

            • His desire is that we stop indulging in the things of this world and seek purity and righteousness through His Son

            • #4 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Pursue spiritual things instead of the things of this world.


  • YOU

    • How can you honor your father and mother today?

    • Do you need to return to obeying your parents in the Lord?

    • Do you need God’s protection and help to be transformed, so you can please Him?

    • What worldly things do you need to sacrifice in order to pursue spiritual things?


  • WE

    • We need to lift each other up in prayer and hold each other accountable to a transformed life that is pleasing to God

    • We need to spur one another on to love and good deeds – spiritual things (Hebrews 10:24)



“Joseph Stowell tells of a conversation he had with a pastor in the former Soviet Union.


‘Stalin's reign was the worst time,’ said the pastor. ‘I had two KGB agents come to me and say, ‘We'll take care of you. You stay the pastor of that church, but once a week give us a report on every one of these Christians. Work for us.’


‘I can't do that to God, and I can't do that to this flock,’ he replied.


So they sent him to a prison camp in Siberia. He endured the forced labor and the cold for ten years. But he did find other Christians in the camp, and God used these believers to fulfill his purposes.


‘I was a carpenter building towns for Stalin,’ said the pastor. ‘We'd go out in sixty-mile radiuses, and there we would fellowship together. Today there are hundreds of churches in Siberia as a result of these small prisoner fellowship groups.’


When men refuse to compromise, they may lose much, but through them God will fulfill his higher eternal purpose.”


Source: Joseph Stowell, president of Moody Bible Institute. Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 1.






Sin Separates

(Genesis 27:30-45)



“The cashier had already rung up Keri Wooster's items when she realized she didn't have her wallet. She dashed to her car and returned empty-handed to face the line of fidgeting customers she had kept waiting, a cell phone pressed to her ear. ‘Jordan, did you take my wallet out of my purse?’ she asked in parental exasperation, as she made her way back to the checkout counter. ‘I'm holding up this line! You need to put things back where you find them.’


Wooster, who has no children, was not actually talking to a Jordan or indeed to anyone at all. But her monologue served its purpose, earning her sympathetic looks from the frustrated crowd at her local Wal-Mart.


Call Wooster a cellphony. She is a part of a growing number of people who are using their cell phones to carry on fake conversations to deceive or manipulate those around them. Some cellphonies use their cell phones to avoid contact with annoying coworkers or supervisors. Some pretend to be finishing a call when they arrive late for a meeting. The fake phone call has a technique all its own. Inexperienced cellphonies risk exposure with their limited repertoire of ‘uh-huhs.’ Sophisticated simulators achieve authenticity by re-enacting their side of an actual dialogue. Or they call voice-activated phone trees, so it sounds as if someone is talking on the other end.”


Source: Amy Harmon, "Cellphonies Know How to Fake It," Dallas Morning News (4-25-05).





  • ME

    • Credit card fraud

    • Amazon account deception

        • Personally – text message

        • Parent’s-in-law


  • WE

    • Have you experienced fraud?

    • Have you experienced deception?

    • How did it make you feel?


Esau returns from hunting and prepares the meal his father asked him to prepare, only to find out that his father has already eaten and given his blessing to a deceiver. ​​ Both Isaac and Esau experienced heartache when the deception was revealed. ​​ This sin of deception caused heartache for everyone involved and was going to separate the whole family. ​​ This is true for us also. ​​ We will learn today that . . .


BIG IDEA – Our deceptions cause heartache.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Genesis 27:30-45)

    • Revealed (vv. 30-40)

        • Almost caught (v. 30)

          • We are not told how long it took Esau to successfully catch some wild game

          • We are also not told how long it took Rebekah to prepare the kind of tasty food that Isaac liked

          • What we are told is that Jacob was almost caught in his deception

          • Jacob had scarcely left his father’s presence when Esau arrived back from the hunt

            • How would Jacob explain the goatskins covering his hands and neck?

            • What would Jacob say to Esau concerning the reason he was wearing his best clothes?

          • It was a close call, but somehow Jacob eluded Esau’s attention when he returned

          • How many of us can relate to Jacob’s stress at this point?

            • He had already questioned his mother about tricking his father

            • He did not want to be cursed by his father instead of blessed

            • When we do something wrong or deceptive, we are hyper aware of our surroundings and who may be watching (with cameras on cell phones today, it is inevitable that someone is watching)

            • We do not want to get caught and exposed for doing something wrong or being deceptive

            • While we are acting deceptively, we experience a great deal of stress

            • Perhaps every one of us can recall a time when we almost got caught – when we experienced a close call

          • Jacob almost got caught, but fortunately Esau was focusing on completing the task that his father had given him

        • Completed task (v. 31)

          • Esau brought the wild game back and immediately began to prepare it, just the way his father liked

          • He then took it to his father and had him sit up, so he could eat some of his game and then bless Esau

          • Isaac was confused at this point, because he had just ate and had blessed, whom he thought was Esau

        • Confusion (v. 32)

          • So, when Esau brings a second meal, Isaac asks him who he is

          • If you remember, Isaac had asked Jacob to come near to him so he could touch him

            • He was confused with the first meal, because Jacob felt hairy, like Esau

            • Isaac could tell the difference between their voices, but the body hair made Esau distinct

            • Isaac knew that the voice sounded like Jacob’s, but he could not deny the hairy hands – what he was feeling

          • Esau responds to his father’s inquiry by telling him, “I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.”

        • Heartache (vv. 33-34)

          • Isaac

            • “Isaac trembled a great trembling exceedingly.” ​​ [Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1B, Genesis 11:27-50:26, 434]

              • He wanted to know who had hunted game and brought it to him, if it was not Esau

                • Perhaps Isaac was trembling violently out of anger that he had been deceived and his plan had failed

                • Maybe Isaac was trembling violently out of fear, knowing that he had tried to overrule God’s plan

              • What had been planned in secret was now being revealed

              • Our deceptions cause heartache.

            • Isaac’s plan was unraveling and he knew it

              • Several things were mentioned last week: ​​ [Baldwin, The Bible Speaks Today, The Message of Genesis 12-50, 114]

                • Isaac only invited Esau to the blessing ceremony and not Jacob

                • Isaac also tried to keep the legal transaction a secret instead of including the required witnesses

                • Isaac discounted the prophecy given to Rebekah that Jacob would be the chosen covenant carrier

                • Isaac also marginalized the fact that Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of red stew – Esau did not value his birthright

              • “At last the old man realized that the Heavenly Hunter had caught up with him to rebuke his coddling favoritism of the rebellious older son in spite of God’s promise to Rebekah, Esau’s denial of the birthright, and the agony of the Hittite wives.” ​​ [Gangel & Bramer, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, 230]

              • Isaac had tried to force his will on the matter, but God had already established and communicated His plan

            • Isaac explained to Esau that he had eaten the food right before he had come in and had blessed the imposter

              • Because the blessing was a legal transaction it would not be revoked

              • The blessing would stand, because it had been done in the presence of the Lord (Genesis 27:7)

              • The Lord did not reveal Jacob’s deception to Isaac, because it was His plan for Jacob to receive the blessing

            • Next we see Esau’s reaction to the fact that the blessing would stand

          • Esau

            • We see Esau’s heartache as he burst out with a loud and bitter cry

            • It can be literally translated as, “he cried a great and exceedingly bitter cry.” ​​ [Mathews, 434]

            • What had Esau so upset?

              • Hebrews 12:16-17, See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. ​​ Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. ​​ He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.

              • “Esau’s tears were not tears of repentance for being an ungodly man; they were tears of regret because he had lost the covenant blessing. ​​ Esau wanted the blessing but he didn’t want to be the kind of man whom God could bless! ​​ We may forget our decisions, but our decisions don’t forget us.” ​​ [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 123]

              • Our deceptions cause heartache.

              • This is true of us also

                • I read a post this week that said we cry out to God to heal our land, but we don’t want to humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways (2 Chronicles 7:14)

                • We say we want to grow in our faith, but we aren’t willing to sacrifice other things in order to spend time studying God’s Word and praying

                • We say we want to see revival and the revitalization of the church, but we are unwilling to fall on our faces before the Lord in personal revival, we are unwilling to join in prayer efforts that can bring about revival and instead we justify the reasons why we can’t join in those prayer efforts, or why we can’t invite others to church or other special services

                • If we really want God to heal our land, to help us grow in our faith, and to revive individuals, and revitalize churches, then we have to be willing to do what He asks us to do in order to see that accomplished

                • We have to stop playing the “religious” game and genuinely pursue a transformed life

                • I want to invite everyone to sacrifice everything else to join us for two important times of prayer – Wednesday evenings at 7:00 pm and Saturday mornings at 8:00 am

                • I want to challenge you to sign up to attend the Worship and Prayer night for the “God Loves You” Tour with Franklin Graham on August 16, 2022, 6:30 pm

                • I also want to challenge you to sign up for the “God Loves You” Tour on September 25, 2022, 4:00 pm and invite someone to join you

              • So, Esau was upset because he regretted losing the covenant blessing

            • He pleaded with his father to bless him too

          • Isaac was not able to do that, because the blessing had been accomplished

        • Accomplished blessing (vv. 35-38)

          • Isaac’s acknowledgement

            • Isaac acknowledged that Jacob received the blessing through deception, but again the blessing would stand, because it was God’s plan

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – God’s plans will ultimately succeed.

              • God is all-knowing, all-powerful, sovereign, and eternal

              • He knows what is best for us individually and corporately

              • When we try to forge ahead with our plans instead of His, He will use any means necessary to get us back on track

              • “God may use human sin to affect his purposes . . .” ​​ [Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary, 381]

              • 1 Corinthians 2:6-8, We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. ​​ No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. ​​ None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

              • Application

                • Are you fighting against God’s plan right now?

                • Perhaps it’s something individually

                • It may be something corporately, as a church, that you are fighting against

                • It may involve a personal preference that God may be asking you to give up

                • It may be an attitude of the heart that God wants to transform in you

                • Are you willing to let go and let God accomplish His plan and purpose in the situation?

                • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Stop fighting against God’s plan and join Him in what He wants to accomplish individually and/or corporately.

            • Jacob had received the blessing through deception, which is why Esau says that he was living up to his name

          • Esau’s lament

            • The meaning of Jacob’s name

              • Literally “he grasps the heel”

              • Figuratively, “he deceives” (“You Jacobed me once, but never again.”)

              • After Will Smith slapped Chris Rock, some people use his name as a verb – “You got Will Smithed!”

            • Esau states that Jacob deceived him two times – once to get his birthright and once to get his blessing

            • Jacob definitely manipulated Esau to get his birthright by withholding food until Esau swore to give it to him

            • The text doesn’t seem to indicate that Jacob deceived Esau in order to get it (we said that Jacob didn’t value his birthright enough to sacrifice food to keep it)

            • It appears that Esau knew full-well what he was doing when he sold his birthright

          • Esau’s questions

            • “Haven’t you reserved any blessing for me?”

              • Esau was basically asking if Isaac had given all the blessing to Jacob

              • Isaac’s response reveals that he had given all the blessing to Jacob – there was none left

                • Isaac gave Jacob all authority as the head of the family – he would be the lord and everyone else would serve him

                • Isaac also gave all the blessing of resources to Jacob – both the field and vine would sustain him

              • Isaac asks Esau what he could possibly do for him

              • Esau wanted to clarify one more thing, so he asks another question

            • “Do you have only one blessing, my father?”

              • He pleaded again with Isaac to bless him too

              • Then he wept aloud again

          • What Isaac says next, in answering Esau’s second question, is not a blessing, but rather an anti-blessing

        • Anti-blessing (vv. 39-40)

          • His place of dwelling will be harsh

            • Jacob will experience heaven’s dew and the earth’s richness

            • Esau’s dwelling will be away from the earth’s richness and the dew of heaven

            • Esau’s territory was on the border of the desert, which made farming impossible [Baldwin, 115]

            • “This is generally the condition of the mountainous country of Edom, which, although not without its fertile slopes and valleys, especially in the eastern portion, is thoroughly waste and barren in the western; so that Seetzen says it consists of ‘the most desolate and barren mountains probably in the world.’” ​​ [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 178]

          • His daily living will be tumultuous

            • The Edomites remained at odds with the Israelites throughout history

            • Scholars are divided over when Esau’s descendants threw Jacob’s yoke off of their necks

              • Some say it happened during the reign of Jehoram (2 Kings 8:20-22)

              • Others say during the reign of Ahaz (2 Kings 16:6)

              • Still others believe it was later through Antipater and Herod when they created an Idumaean dynasty over Judea that lasted until the Jewish state was completely dissolved [Keil & Delitzsch, 179]

              • One scholar believes that it is when the “anti-christ rises to power and sets up his image in the temple in Jerusalem (Matthew 24:15).” ​​ [Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary, Old Testament, Volume 1: Genesis-Job, 134]

              • Whenever it happened or will happen, we can trust that it did or will

        • None of this sits well with Esau, so he plans to kill Jacob

    • Retreat (vv. 41-45)

        • Esau’s grudge

          • It’s not hard to believe that Esau held a grudge against Jacob

            • When we are expecting something to happen a particular way and then it does not happen that way it is easy to hold a grudge

            • Story of a changed will

              • There was a husband and wife who had their wills done exactly the same

              • Both wills stated that when they passed away the farm and all the equipment would go to the only son in the family

              • The husband passed away around 25 years before the wife and during that time, the wife changed her will to say that the farm and all the equipment would be sold at an auction and the proceeds divided equally among her children

              • If there were any items the children wanted, they would have to purchase it at the auction

              • The only son was not happy with the change his mother had made in the will, so he asked the lawyer if they could return to his father’s will

              • The lawyer told him that if he contested his mother’s will, then the farm and all the equipment would be given to the State

              • Long story, short, the change in his mother’s will created feelings of anger and frustration and probably a grudge, because he believed that he would receive everything

          • Esau’s plan

            • He thought to himself, “I will wait until after the days of mourning are completed for my father’s death and then I will take revenge on my brother Jacob”

            • He would kill Jacob

            • Perhaps he thought that by killing Jacob, he would then assume the position of head of the family and by default receive everything that was given to Jacob in the blessing

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – There are consequences for deception/sin.

            • The consequence for Jacob was a death threat

            • The consequence for Esau was living with a grudge and hatred toward his brother

            • The stress of both of those things would have taken a toll on their bodies, physically

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – Deception divides families.

            • Death would permanently divide Jacob and Esau, without hope of reconciliation

          • Esau must have told someone in the family about his plan, because they told Rebekah

        • Rebekah’s plan

          • When she heard that Esau was planning to kill Jacob, she sent for Jacob

          • She told Jacob about Esau’s plan and then urged him to flee to Haran and stay with her brother Laban until Esau was no longer angry

          • She would send for Jacob when Esau had settled down

          • We know that a while turned into 20 plus years

          • In fact, Rebekah never sent for Jacob and she never saw Jacob again, because she died before he returned

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – There are consequences for deception/sin.

            • The consequence for Rebekah’s deception was that she never saw Jacob again

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – Deception divides families.

            • Rebekah probably had a strained relationship with her husband Isaac when he found out the part she played in the deception

            • Rebekah was separated from her favored son, Jacob, for the rest of her life

        • Rebekah’s concern

          • She did not want to lose both sons in one day

          • “She probably has in mind that after Esau killed Jacob, he would be killed by an avenger of blood or by judicial decree demanding his execution for taking an innocent life (cf. Gen. 4:14; 2 Sam. 7:14). ​​ Ironically, she suffers even more than she anticipates, at least socially if not physically. ​​ Her relationship (if any) with Esau must have been irrevocably damaged, and she never sends for Jacob from his exile in Paddan Aram. ​​ Finally, she even loses a memorial in Scripture (Gen. 35:8). ​​ Though Rebekah parries Esau’s violent resolve, nevertheless, she must taste the bitter consequences of her deception.” ​​ [Waltke, 381-82]

        • Application

          • Consequences for deception/sin

            • Perhaps you are experiencing the consequences of deception/sin in your life

              • Maybe a family member refuses to talk with you

              • A friend may not return your calls or text messages

              • It takes time to restore trust once it is broken, but don’t give up

              • Keep doing what is right and being open and honest with those family members and friends

            • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Accept and embrace the consequences of my deception.

          • Deception divides families

            • Restoration is possible, but it takes humility on our part

              • We have to acknowledge our deception and sin

              • Then, we have to go to those individuals we have deceived and confess our sin and seek their forgiveness

            • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Strive to be honest in every relationship and seek forgiveness from those I have deceived.

          • God can restore what is lost and broken, when we humble ourselves before Him

          • Here are some words of wisdom from Gangel & Bramer [pg. 232]

            • “Our past failures do not negate God’s future blessing.”

            • “Sinfulness does not mean hopelessness.”

            • “Our failures do not destroy God’s promises.”

            • “We must trust God for what we do not see even when we see a mess.”

            • “Faith looks forward, not backward.”



  • YOU

    • Are you trying to accomplish your own plans instead of God’s plan?

    • What consequences of deception do you need to accept and embrace?

    • Whom do you need to seek forgiveness from?


  • WE

    • What plan(s) does God want us to join Him in for Idaville Church?

    • What consequences of deception do we need to accept and embrace?

    • Whom do we need to seek forgiveness from?



Perhaps Esau was feeling what many young people feel today, as highlighted in this closing illustration. ​​ We know that Esau felt heartache at not being blessed by his father. ​​ Perhaps he felt grief, pain, loneliness, and rejection.


“In the BBC reality show Monastery, a group of five men from diverse backgrounds voluntarily join a Benedictine monastery for a span of forty days. The five men don't have to assent to Christian beliefs, but they do have to respect and follow the monks' communal requirements— a strict rhythm of meals, silence, prayer times, and so on.


One of the stories focused on a man named Tony, a producer of soft-core pornography. After some time in the monastery, Tony felt torn: he wanted to keep his job, but he didn't want to lose the peace he was experiencing in the monastery. With two days left at the monastery, he shared his concerns with Brother Francis:


Tony: No, I am not going to give up my job. I am not going to sit in church all day and read the Bible, I need to live. I need to keep my lifestyle. So I'm just a little bit worried. Part of me wants to keep the whole thing alive and carry it through. And I know the minute I get out, it will fade.


Brother Francis: I want to give you something that I think will help with what you've just described …. Vocation is about discovering who you really are and maybe what you should really be doing. And that is what we are trying to do here—discover who we really are. I want to give you this stone, this white stone. We have our Christian name, our family name. But we also have another name, and it's called our "white stone name." [Revelation 2:17] says, "Your new name is written on a white stone in heaven." I think our vocation is to find out what that name is, to find our white stone name.


After handing Tony the stone, Brother Francis places his hand on his head and speaks a word of blessing over him. Immediately after that exchange, the camera scans to a shot of Tony, outside in the dark, huddled on a bench, deeply affected by Brother Francis' fatherly words of hope and blessing.


Author John Sower comments on this scene from The Monastery:


I believe Brother Francis … speaks to the heart of the fatherless generation. These are the sons and daughters who don't know their true name. They are searching for who they really are. In their search, they bring this question of identity to anyone who will listen …. They are willing to look anywhere to find it.


Earlier in his book, John Sower had already described our crisis of fatherlessness:


We are a generation seriously searching for Dad. Fatherlessness has become the new cultural norm. This story is being written into the lives of my generation. A story that can be heard in our songs, seen in our movies, read in our blogs. A story of grief and pain, of loneliness and rejection. A story that desperately needs to be heard.”


Source: John Sower, Fatherless Generation (Zondervan, 2010), pp. 116-117, 12-13