Grace Magnified in Failure

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Genesis 29:27-31:1227Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years. 28And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also. 29And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid. 30And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years. 31And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. 32And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the Lord hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me. 33And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the Lord hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon. 34And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi. 35And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the Lord: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing. 1And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. 2And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb? 3And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her. 4And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her. 5And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son. 6And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan. 7And Bilhah Rachel's maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son. 8And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali. 9When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife. 10And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a son. 11And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad. 12And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a second son. 13And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher. 14And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes. 15And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son's mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son's mandrakes. 16And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night. 17And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son. 18And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar. 19And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son. 20And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun. 21And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah. 22And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. 23And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: 24And she called his name Joseph; and said, The Lord shall add to me another son. 25And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country. 26Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service which I have done thee. 27And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favor in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake. 28And he said, Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it. 29And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me. 30For it was little which thou hadst before I came, and it is now increased unto a multitude; and the Lord hath blessed thee since my coming: and now when shall I provide for mine own house also? 31And he said, What shall I give thee? And Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me any thing: if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock: 32I will pass through all thy flock to day, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire. 33So shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come, when it shall come for my hire before thy face: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the sheep, that shall be counted stolen with me. 34And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word. 35And he removed that day the he goats that were ringstraked and spotted, and all the she goats that were speckled and spotted, and every one that had some white in it, and all the brown among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons. 36And he set three days' journey betwixt himself and Jacob: and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks. 37And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. 38And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink. 39And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted. 40And Jacob did separate the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstraked, and all the brown in the flock of Laban; and he put his own flocks by themselves, and put them not unto Laban's cattle. 41And it came to pass, whensoever the stronger cattle did conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the cattle in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods. 42But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's. 43And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses. 1And he heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory. 2And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before. 3And the Lord said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee. 4And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, 5And said unto them, I see your father's countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me. 6And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. 7And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me. 8If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked. 9Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me. 10And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled. 11And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I. 12And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. (Genesis 29:27‑31:12)
Laban told Jacob that if he would serve him another seven years, he could have Rachel for his wife. God does not approve of a man having more than one wife, but in the Old Testament, before God had given a full revelation of Himself, He allowed it, though He never ap­proved of it. This He showed in the beginning when He made one wife for Adam, saying at that time that a man was to “leave his father and his mother, and  ...  cleave unto his wife” (Genesis 2:2424Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)). God always shows His pur­poses in the beginning of a thing when He sets it up, then bearing in patience with the failure when things fall into decline. Everything that has been com­mitted to man in responsibility has ended in failure and ruin, but this only tends to magnify the grace of God.
God was good to Leah in spite of the fact that Jacob did not love her as he should have, and God gave her many sons.
Jacob went on with his scheming, and since he was the head of his home, his whole household took on the same character. How careful this should make us as parents, for our children will copy our actions much more than we are inclined to think. Jacob’s way of doing things could never have God’s approval, but God overruled and ac­complished His own purposes in spite of Jacob’s failure. Then, too, it shows us that in the coming day when the twelve tribes will be brought into bless­ing on the earth, it will be all of grace. Not one of us who are reading this little book will get to heaven because of any good in ourselves. We will be praising and thanking God through all eternity that it was only His grace and goodness that brought us there at all, for we deserved nothing but judgment.
God’s Goodness and Blessing
in Spite of Failure
Laban had to admit that God had blessed him for Jacob’s sake. Even though Jacob was such a failure, God proved Himself to be a God of perfect goodness and protected him. He then put the desire in Jacob’s heart to return to the land of Canaan, for that was the land of promised blessing. God used very unusual circumstances to bring Jacob back. When we are not walk­ing quietly with God as Abraham had been, then God has to use the “bit and bridle” (Psalm 32:99Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee. (Psalm 32:9)), bringing unpleasant events into our lives in order to make us to go where He wants us. How much better to let Him speak to us through His Word, than to make it nec­essary for God to guide us like “horses and mules!”
When Laban saw that Jacob was get­ting together so many possessions, he was not favorable toward him as be­fore. Jacob then told his wives that the Lord had told him to return to his country, telling them, too, how Laban their father had deceived him and changed his wages ten times. He did not, however, mention how he had de­ceived his own father, for as yet there had not been any self judgment, nor any real sense of his guilt. He was only out to protect his own interests. It makes one think of the verse, “The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the Lord” (Proverbs 19:33The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the Lord. (Proverbs 19:3)). Dear boys and girls, how often we do things we know are wrong, and then when trouble comes, we say that we do not know why the Lord is allowing it. If we want God to bless us, we must walk in obedience to His Word.
Further Meditation
1. What happened to Jacob’s household as a result of his continued scheming?
2. Just as Jacob got deceived because he himself was a deceiver, we, too, often experience the same kind of trouble that we cause. How did David experience God’s government for the adultery and murder that he had done?
3. We can be so thankful that the Lord shows grace as well as judgment. You would no doubt enjoy the combination of the two if you were to read God’s Grace and God’s Government by P. Wilson.