The Cheater Gets Cheated

Today’s Readings
Genesis 29-30
Matthew 9:1-17

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20 Jacob worked for Rachel for seven years, but it seemed like a few days because he loved her. 21 Jacob said to Laban, “The time has come. Give me my wife so that I may sleep with her.” 22 So Laban invited all the people of that place and prepared a banquet. 23 However, in the evening, he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he slept with her. 24 Laban had given his servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her servant. 25 In the morning, there she was—Leah! Jacob said to Laban, “What have you done to me? Didn’t I work for you to have Rachel? Why did you betray me?”

26 Laban said, “Where we live, we don’t give the younger woman before the oldest. 27 Complete the celebratory week with this woman. Then I will give[c] you this other woman too for your work, if you work for me seven more years.” 28 So that is what Jacob did. He completed the celebratory week with this woman, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife. 29 Laban had given his servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her servant. 30 Jacob slept with Rachel, and he loved Rachel more than Leah. He worked for Laban seven more years.

In our reading on Wednesday, Esau sold his birthright to his brother Jacob for a bowl of stew. It was a very shortsighted exchange on Esau’s part. Before all was said and done (part of yesterday’s reading), Esau believed Jacob cheated him out of his birthright. At least as we read it, Jacob, in my opinion, did not cheat Esau. At least not in this part of their story.

While I don’t believe Jacob cheated Esau out of his birthright, there is no doubt that Jacob was a primary player in cheating Esau out of his blessing. Without question, his mother Rebekah played a major role in it, but Esau could have said no. He cheated his brother and for his trouble, he had to run for his life. All this happened in part of yesterday’s Genesis reading I didn’t focus on for yesterday’s post.

Rebekah sends Jacob running for cover, back to her family. Once there, he discovers the love of his life, Rachel. In the end, it results in more trouble for Jacob as the cheater is about to meet his match in Rachel’s father Laban.

Laban has Jacob work for him for seven years to get Rachel’s hand. Jacob does but when wedding bells rang, he finds he has not married Rachel, but her older sister Leah. After that, Laban makes Jacob work for him another seven years to marry his real love, Rachel.

There is something within most of us that wants to see the cheater get caught.  When I was in college there was a student who was well known as a cheater by other students on campus. Once it became clear the kind of person he was, most of us wanted nothing to do with him. He was a nice guy but his ethics left a great deal to be desired. As far as I know, he was never caught by a professor. I have often wondered if he has had the same lack of ethics in his working career as he had in his academic career.

Most of us have known someone who has cheated to pass a class or cheated to succeed in business or cheated someone out of something. I can’t help but believe, these events are sad not only to those of us who observe, but they are sad to God as well.

But, grace is also there. As we will see, through the marriage Jacob waited so long to have, God would save the family and ultimately the nation.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

 

 

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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