In Paddan-aram, Jacob starts to work for his uncle, Laban. But when he falls in love with Laban’s daughter Rachel, Jacob, the deceiver, is deceived . . .
Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, “I’ll work for you for seven years if you’ll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife.”
“Agreed!” Laban replied. “I’d rather give her to you than to anyone else. Stay and work with me.” So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days.
Finally, the time came for him to marry her. “I have fulfilled my agreement,” Jacob said to Laban. “Now give me my wife so I can sleep with her.” . . .
The custom of the day was for a man to present a dowry, or substantial gift, to the family of his future wife. Marriage meant the loss of a valued worker, so this gift compensated for the loss. Jacob’s dowry was not a material possession, for he had none to offer. Instead, he agreed to work seven years for Laban. Laban did not tell Jacob about another custom of the land. The older daughter had to be married first. By giving Leah, not Rachel, to Jacob, Laban tricked him into devoting another seven years of hard work to the family.
Jacob was enraged when he learned that Laban had tricked him. The trickster who deceived Esau had been deceived himself. We often become upset at injustices done to us while closing our eyes to the injustices we do to others. Sin has a way of coming back to haunt us.
Although Laban tricked Jacob, Jacob kept his part of the bargain. People often wonder if working a long time for something they desire is worth it. Jacob worked seven years to marry Rachel. After being tricked, he agreed to work seven more years for her (although he did get to marry Rachel shortly after he married Leah)! The most important goals and desires are worth working and waiting for.
How do you respond when you have been faithful and you are used because of it? Are you bitter and angry? Does it consume you or do you continue to persevere in what is right? Ask God for guidance and patience as you work toward your Christ-honoring goals, and the wisdom to avoid treating others the way you have been treated.