It is one of the worst feelings to play a joke on someone and have it backfire. They retaliate with something worse, and you can see a history of escalating jokes wavering in your future. Do you take the heat and let it go or plan an appropriate come-back?
Genesis continues the story of Jacob’s adventures in chapters 29-31. By the way, did I mention that his name meant something like “deceiver?”
Jacob made it to his uncle’s house after tricking his brother repeatedly. And he was welcomed with great emotion. After falling in love with his uncle’s daughter, Jacob worked seven years for her hand in marriage. Is this another story of true love, just like that of his mother and father?
No. Laban switched girls, and Jacob woke up from his wedding night to find that he was married to Leah, not the beautiful Rachel. After finishing the wedding week, Laban gave him Rachel also, and he worked another seven years.
His wives picked up the rivalry, treating his favor as the ultimate goal, and stopping short at nothing to win the “husband-children” trophy.
Laban, meanwhile, offered Jacob some wages. Jacob took the offer in the form of specific animals born into Laban’s flocks. And Laban kept switching it.
Jacob vs Laban and Leah vs Rachel. When did it end? When God told Jacob to go back home. Jacob did not tell Laban, but God warned the uncle to not retaliate. They made a pact to never cross the boundary line, and left. A bitter draw.
Leah and Rachel’s rivalry carried into their children’s lives. And then the family tribes rivaled each other. Sibling rivalry never stopped, always lurking underneath the history of Israel.
And you? Who do you measure yourself against? I have a competitive streak that hates to be less than someone, so I only like to pursue things in which I excel. But maybe sometimes it is good to pursue something you have to struggle through, and appreciate the strengths of another. Maybe it is time to hold your brother close and appreciate all the things you’ve lived through, and all the things you have in common. Before the focus on differences separates you forever.
God, thank You for family. Thank You for siblings. Thank You for learning to be competitive and excel, and learning to appreciate the strength of another. God, please help my humble side. It is so hard to admit weakness. Please help me learn when to challenge and when to say I’m wrong, and live in love that rejoices in Your strength revealed in people. To You be the glory. Amen.