The Restored Orchard

Deeper Roots – Genesis 29:14-27

A humbled and open heart is fertile soil for God’s seeds of wisdom. Establishing deeper roots requires analyzing God’s word to discover truths, values, and lessons for application to our lives. Periodically, a scripture or passage calls for further exploration, like Genesis 29:14-27.

After Jacob had stayed with Laban for about a month, 15 Laban said to him, “You shouldn’t work for me without pay just because we are relatives. Tell me how much your wages should be.”

16 Now Laban had two daughters. The older daughter was named Leah, and the younger one was Rachel. 17 There was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face. 18 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.”

19 “Agreed!” Laban replied. “I’d rather give her to you than to anyone else. Stay and work with me.” 20 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.

21 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.”

22 So Laban invited everyone in the neighborhood and prepared a wedding feast. 23 But that night, when it was dark, Laban took Leah to Jacob, and he slept with her. 24 (Laban had given Leah a servant, Zilpah, to be her maid.)

25 But when Jacob woke up in the morning—it was Leah! “What have you done to me?” Jacob raged at Laban. “I worked seven years for Rachel! Why have you tricked me?”

26 “It’s not our custom here to marry off a younger daughter ahead of the firstborn,” Laban replied. 27 “But wait until the bridal week is over; then we’ll give you Rachel, too—provided you promise to work another seven years for me.”

Genesis 29:14-27 NLT

Our Deeper Roots passage in Genesis demonstrates how God can turn deception into blessings. Our scripture selection begins with Jacob and his uncle, Laban, negotiating. Jacob had been in his mother’s homeland for a month’s time and had nothing to his name. So Jacob agrees to work for Laban for 7 years in order to marry his daughter, Rachel. The seven years pass quickly for Jacob and he proceeds to move forward with the agreement to marry Rachel. The wedding night comes and Rachel is swapped for her older sister, Leah. Jacob is furious, but Laban agreed for Jacob to have Rachel in exchange for seven more years of labor.

It’s clear that Jacob was attracted to Rachel, but he got tricked into marrying her older sister, Leah. His uncle cited the custom of the oldest daughter getting married first; something Jacob had no knowledge of when he negotiated the agreement. It’s simple. Jacob experienced deception at the hands of his uncle. What’s ironic is that Jacob had previously deceived his own father and brother. Could this be punishment for those behaviors? Perhaps. Or maybe it was a blessing.

Although Jacob intended to marry Rachel, the majority of his children were a direct result of his wife, Leah. The lineage of the Levites and Judah were from Jacob’s relationship with Leah. The treatment that Jacob received under his uncle’s care also became a learning experience and I believe that God used it to prune some things from Jacob that were unfruitful. Even though Jacob was deceived, God used it to mature him and included him in the earthly ancestry of Jesus Christ. I think this speaks volumes for those who may have endured situations where you may not have had all the facts and got tricked. God can truly use those experiences to make you wiser, mature you spiritually, and come out for the good. The key is to keep asking the Lord to grant wisdom for navigating the situation.

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