Dealing with Disappointment

KEY VERSE: “It came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? Did not I serve with thee for Rachel? Wherefore then host thou beguiled me?” —Genesis 29:25

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Genesis 29:15-30

DEALING WITH LIFE’S disappointments with courage and hope is a lesson we all must learn. Jacob’s long struggle to obtain the hand of Rachel sets before us an encouraging example of perseverance and persistence derived from our faith in the goodness of God.

“Isaac called Jacob … and charged him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan.” (Gen. 28:1) He insisted that his son, Jacob, journey to Padanaram, to take a wife from among the daughters of his Uncle Laban. This was a long journey by foot, of some five hundred miles.

When Jacob finally reached his destination, he first met a group of shepherds gathered at a covered well caring for their flocks of sheep. The herdsmen were awaiting the arrival of Rachel with her father’s flock, before the well could be uncovered. Finally she arrived and Jacob made himself known to her. As he greeted her with the customary kiss, it was love at first sight!

While Jacob uncovered the well and watered her sheep for her, Rachel ran to tell her father, Laban, who upon hearing of Jacob, his sister’s son, ran to meet him and bring him home. After Jacob had helped for a month around the home, Laban said to him: “Just because you are a relative of mine, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be.”—vss. 14,15, New International Version

Laban had two daughters. The name of the older one was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel, who is described as beautiful and well favored. Jacob was in love with Rachel, and said, “I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel.” Laban said, “It’s better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with he.” (vss. 17-19, NIV) So Jacob did serve seven years to have Rachel; which seemed to him like only a few days because of the deep love he felt for her.

Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife; for my time is completed.” When evening came, he took his daughter, Leah, and gave her to Jacob. When morning came, there was Leah! Because women were veiled in the Near East, Laban was able to make the switch without Jacob realizing he had been tricked until he and Leah were alone. What a shock of disappointment to Jacob!

Jacob, challenging Laban, said, “What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?” To which Laban replied, “It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one.” Jacob could not believe that Laban so greatly deceived him! What a huge disappointment! But Laban, unmoved, said, “Finish this daughter’s bridal week, then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work.” Jacob’s faith, still unshaken, thought it best to accept the situation, even though it was a deep frustration to him. Eventually his patience was rewarded. He fulfilled his commitment to his uncle, and had both daughters as his wives.

The Apostle James catches the enduring essence of this lesson for us in his encouraging statement: “You know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”—James 1:3, NIV

Dawn Bible Students Association
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