Monday, November 7, 2011


God blesses those who persevere.

This was the concluding point of yesterday's sermon, and it has been on my mind over the past 24 hours. The text for the sermon was the story of Jacob and Laban (and of course, Leah and Rachel). You know the story--Jacob loves Rachel and arranges to work 7 years in exchange for her hand in marriage. Then, Laban turns the tables; tricks the trickster. Rather than Rachel, it's Leah who Jacob wakes up with the morning after the wedding. Laban utters some lame excuse for the switch, but it was clear that he was trying to pull a fast one. Jacob marries Rachel, too, but it costs him 7 more years of his life. He then proceeds to have a lot of kids with his wives and their maidservants.

The character in the story who displays perseverance is obvious, right?

Well, maybe and maybe not. Of course, Jacob endures for a total of 14 very long years of servitude for his uncle (half of those years, very likely resenting his uncle's dishonesty). That's tough. That displays real character, especially for someone like Jacob, who was not known for his integrity as a young man.

However, the real hero (or at least, so suggested Pastor Makoto) was.... (drumroll)


Why Leah? Wasn't she in on her father's tricks? Probably she was, but what Leah ultimately wanted was Jacob's love--Something more unattainable for her than Rachel's love was for Jacob. Jacob could work 14 years and have finally earned Rachel, but Leah was chasing the wind. Tricking Jacob into marrying her didn't endear him to her any. We then read about each child that Leah bore to Jacob. Each time, she hopes "maybe now Jacob will love me!" But alas...

This continues until she gives birth to her 4th son, Judah. When Judah is born, Leah says "This time, I will praise the LORD." (Gen. 29:35). Finally, Leah pursues something greater than Jacob's love--the love of the LORD. Her perseverance is rewarded, as we know what Leah did not, that through Judah, the Savior of all mankind was born.

Pretty cool, eh?

When we think of blessing, we tend to think of an absence of sickness, an absence of despair or trials. However, what if blessing comes through opportunities to endure and persevere? What if following the LORD even through the bleakest times leads to the greatest joy?

It's been a long day (I ran well over a mile between the boys' and girls' races today, calling out times at opposite ends of the course), and my mind is reeling. I don't know if I can write any more coherently. But... I just wanted to throw that reflection on yesterday's sermon out there...

Persevere, all you who are tired and beleaguered. I know I will!

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