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21. Jacob Lives with Laban and Prospers

June 25, 2009

Text:   Genesis 29:1-30:43

Outline:                I. Jacob Arrives at Laban’s Household      Gen. 29:1-13

 II. Jacob Marries Laban’s Daughters      Gen. 29:14-30:24

III. God Blesses Laban through Jacob      Gen. 30:25-36

IV. God Blesses Jacob in Spite of Laban      Gen. 30:37-43

Context/Discussion/Comments:

Jacob arrives at a well in Haran and asks the local shepherds if they know of Laban. They do and point out Rachel, Laban’s daughter, coming to the well with a flock of sheep. When Rachel arrives, Jacob rolls the stone away from the well and waters Laban’s sheep for Rachel and introduces himself to her as Rebekah’s son. Laban runs to meet Jacob and brings him to his home.

Jacob stays with Laban one month when Laban proposes to pay Jacob a wage. Jacob proposes to work for Laban 7 years for the hand of Rachel in marriage. Laban agrees. When the 7 years are up, Jacob asks to marry Rachel. Laban proposes a feast but substitutes his daughter Leah in place of Rachel. Jacob wakes up the next morning and accuses Laban of deception. Laban says the older daughter always marries before the younger in their culture. Laban offers Jacob Rachel in one week but he must work another 7 years.

God opens Leah’s womb and closes Rachel’s womb because Jacob loved Rachel much more than Leah. Leah bears Jacob 4 sons; Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah. Rachel becomes jealous of Leah and gives Jacob her maid, Bilhah. Bilhah gives Jacob 2 more sons; Dan and Naptali. Leah stopped bearing children so she gives Jacob her maid, Zilpah. Zilpah bore Gad and Asher. Leah trades her time laying with Jacob with Rachel by giving her mandrakes that Reuben had collected. Leah conceives again and bears two more sons; Issachar and Zebulun. Later she had a daughter named Dinah. Rachel finally has a son named Joseph.

Jacob goes to Laban and asks permission to leave with his family and return home. Laban wants him to stay because he has prospered during Jacobs stay. Jacob agrees to stay on if Laban gives him all the multicolored goats and dark lambs as his own. Laban agrees but separates the existing ones from the flock and removes them to another pasture 3 days away so Jacob received nothing. Jacob devises a scheme to breed multicolored goats and dark colored lambs, saving those for his wages. Jacob was able to note the breeding habits and take the strongest animals for his flocks. Thus, Jacob became very prosperous.

Lessons/Applications:

1. Trust God to lead you to the right spouse. Let God choose and then obey.

2. Being helpful and hospitable always leaves a good and positive impression. Take advantage of your opportunities to serve in this manner.

3. If we have been deceitful, people will try and deceive us too. Know the rules and read the fine print before entering into agreements.

4. Consider your potential in-laws before choosing your spouse. We marry an individual but we marry into a family. Family squabbles always interfere with a marriage.

5. God’s greatest blessings come in the form of children. One’s greatest problems can come in the form of in-laws.

6. If you are prospering, give thanks to God and treat your employees fairly. Greed breeds animosity and distrust.

7. God prospers those who depend on Him. Being prosperous/successful doesn’t necessarily mean wealth. Consider the likes of family, friends, joy, peace, contentment, love, faith, and hope. These are far more elusive than wealth and far more valuable.

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