Even as I type this out, I’m hearing Frank Sinatra singing “I did my way.” Too often we like to celebrate our independence and prove that we’re more than capable. This is often spawned from insecurity or impatience. Through some very tough bumps in the road, we are reminded that WE NEED GOD. That’s why we follow Christ…we can’t save ourselves. Figuring this out will take time, hard work, endurance, and even some painful lessons.
In Genesis 29, we see God fulfilling His promise to Abraham through his grandson, Jacob. But obviously, Jacob wasn’t ready to be the father of many nations. He demonstrated through his conniving ways that he definitely wanted the prize but wasn’t willing to embrace the process. God used Uncle Laban and his two daughters to drive the point home with Jacob. Some important lessons for us when we try to take short cuts…
The Process is Less Attractive Than The Prize
Jacob meets Rachel, attractive in every way, and wants her to be his wife immediately. Her older sister, Leah had pretty eyes (#euphemism4buttugly). Laban tricked Jacob into marrying Leah (the process) if he wanted Rachel (the prize).
To gain both, it cost him seven more years of servitude. How ironic that Jacob wanted the blessing of the firstborn but desired the 2nd born daughter. We learn that nothing comes easily. To get what we want, we have to go through the necessary steps, learn the right lessons, and do the right things. We can’t afford to give in to impatience.
The Process Bears More Fruit Than the Prize
A crazy duel starts taking place between the 2 sisters as they bear children for Jacob. While Jacob desires Rachel, he sees that God has other ideas for fulfilling His plan. Leah bears 6 sons and 1 daughter while Rachel only has 2. In addition, Leah brought forth the line of Judah, in which Jesus was born. Jacob wanted the prize but the process produced MORE.
We cannot base success on human standards. While we may produce, we must constantly check quality, motive, and ask: did I obey God? It was the difference between Saul’s indpendence and David’s pursuit of God. The temporal will always conflict with the eternal. God allows us to face challenges so that we can grow and that his character might be developed in us. He wants to give us lifelong tools so that we will be able to survive.
The Process Prepares Us For The Prize
Maybe God’s prize for us is different from our perception, bigger than we could imagine. Before we get there, He wants to deposit His nature and fruit in us. God is more concerned about doing a work in us than through us; more about developing fruit in us, than through us. John 15 tells us that bearing fruit will require pruning: removal of junk, excess baggage, habits, and attitudes. If we don’t learn it now, we will face it again. God so wants us to learn what is vital that we’ll “circle Mount Sinai” until we get it.
The Process Outlasts The Prize
In Genesis 35, Rachel dies and it’s the last time she is mentioned with any significance in the Scriptures. However, there is no record of Leah’s death. The process lives on. In the end, Jacob “wanted to be buried with Leah” (Genesis 49). He finally realized that though less attractive, Leah brought more fulfillment and lasting fruit. She represented the things that preserved and protected Jacob through time.
Our dreams pass, fade, fall apart, diminish…but the process, the lessons learned and the character developed, live on. The Leahs in our lives don’t die or perish and if properly embraced will last with us.
By all means, Envision Rachel, but Embrace Leah.
Questions for thought
What prize are you seeking after?
What process is God asking you to go through?
What are the consequences of not embracing the process? What choices do you need to make?