Sometimes God must show us ourselves through others so that He can take us through the refining process.MY FAITH EXPRESSIONS
Let’s take a look at the story of Jacob and Laban, Jacob’s soon to be father-in-law.
First of all, something important to know about Jacob is that He was a trickster in his day. The reason Jacob was in search of shelter and a place to call home was because He left home having deceived both his brother, Esau, and his father, Isaac, to get what he wanted. Now, he ends up meeting a man with a similar character flaw, Laban, who gives Jacob a taste of his own medicine by putting Jacob through a round of cunning acts.
The dictionary defines refining as removing impurities or unwanted elements or improving (something) by making small changes.
Although Jacob escaped the threat of his brother and he thought that all was well, God needed to remove impurities from Jacob’s heart. He needed to improve his character by making some changes. These changes would not occur overnight. It was a process.
Let me remind you, as I so often do, “You Are More Than Enough – Don’t Look Back Finish the Process”. Even as God may be taking you through the refiner’s fire, you will not be burnt. This may be the test or trial that God is bringing you through to bring about the necessary changes that will cause you to be more in line with who He has called you to be. Allow God to shift what needs to be shifted so that continuous improvement may take place within your life.
As we will read, Jacob fell madly in love with Laban’s younger daughter Rachel and that started this whole cycle of deception.
Genesis 29:14-19 (NLT) says,
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.”
So, the agreed upon plan was set into motion. Jacob would work for Laban for seven years with the love of his life Rachel being his great blessing in the end. Jacob had no reason to doubt that what Laban promised him would come to pass. He had moved on with his life and had completely forgotten about the damage he had caused with his past deceptive ways. He destroyed his family and had to flee to do life on his own.
Although we may sometimes find ourselves in similar circumstances where we have caused disruption and chaos within our lives, we must remember that God still has a plan. He can and will use us; however, first, this may mean taking us through some things so that we can see ourselves and recognize the unfavorable attributes within us that we need to allow God to remove and refine, all so that we will be able to ultimately carry out His plan for His glory.
Genesis 29:20 (NLT) goes on to say,
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.
Let’s stop there for a second with a little side note.
This verse jumped out at me. “But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days.” I look at that verse in light of the tests and trials that I have endured. Because my love for the Lord was so strong, is so strong, even when I didn’t or don’t think that I will make it through and I do not always feel God with me, I can rest assured that He is with me. Because of the intensity of my love for Him, the waiting seems to have been “but a few days” when the answer that He provides, appears. God’s timing is not ours to figure out. As long as He delivers me, that is all that matters.
When we are coming out of the test or trial, we will realize that the love we have for God and the immeasurable love that He has for us is what has carried us through.
Let’s pick up where we left off.
Genesis 29:21-25 (NLT) says,
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?”
Oh boy! Jacob was now experiencing what his brother Esau had experienced at his hand. It makes your stomach kind of knot up because if you are like me, you really don’t like to see anyone suffer. But sometimes this level of chastening and correction is necessary for the greater good; and, so that the call of God can be executed and fulfilled according to His purpose.
To read about Jacob and his twin brother Esau, you may read Genesis 25:19-34, Genesis 27:1-46 and Genesis 28:1-5.
Laban had his reasons for doing what He did.
Genesis 29:26-30 (NLT) says,
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.”
28 So Jacob agreed to work seven more years. A week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too. 29 (Laban gave Rachel a servant, Bilhah, to be her maid.) 30 So Jacob slept with Rachel, too, and he loved her much more than Leah. He then stayed and worked for Laban the additional seven years.
Although Jacob had to take the long way around, this was still all of God’s plan because out of these unions God’s promise to Abraham was fulfilled through this line from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Genesis 12:2 (NLT) says,
I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.
So, although we may have to go the long way around because of some of the choices and decisions that we make, God is still working it together for good. His plan can never be stopped. The route just may change a bit and delays may be present because of our own doing. This is because God will not go against our will. The harder we fight against His will and are determined to do things our own way, the longer the process may take. But, once God gets us back on track, let us make up in our minds that we will stick with it, no matter what.
Don’t let your time of refinement go to waste.
Proverbs 19:21 (NLT)
You can make many plans,
but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.
“You Are More
Don’t Look Back
Finish the Process”
Romans 10:17 (NLT)
So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.
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