My how time flies when you’re in love. Funny, I would have thought it would be the other way around. That it would seem like forever, waiting.
Jacob’s love for Rachel knows no equal in the scriptures. It’s a tender story of God’s provision and direction. Jacob had been sent to Paddan Aram, a journey of many days, by his father, Isaac, for the express purpose of finding a wife for himself from among the daughters of Laban, Isaac’s brother-in-law. No sooner did he arrive at his destination than he found shepherds waiting to water their sheep at a well, and inquired of them if they knew who Laban was, they said they did, “and here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep” (Genesis 29:6).
There was a large, heavy stone over the mouth of the well that usually took more than one shepherd to move, but when Jacob laid eyes on Rachel, “he went over and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered his uncle’s sheep” (:10). Ah yes; love’s adrenaline! “Then Jacob kissed Rachel and began to weep aloud” (:11). Probably not a lover’s kiss, but then again …
There was a great celebration when he met Laban who rejoiced upon learning Jacob was a relative, the son of his sister. Laban had two daughters, Leah, the older, and Rachel, the younger, and Jacob loved Rachel, and offered to work for Laban for seven years in return for having her as his wife.
But Jacob, always the trickster (he tricked his brother, Esau, out of his birthright and his blessing), received a little of his own medicine on his wedding night when Laban slipped Leah into his tent instead. With that discovery, Laban bargained for seven more years of Jacob’s hard work, and upon winning that bargain, gave him Rachel as well. All in all, with six more years of work paid in flocks and herds, Jacob returned to his father’s house, a wealthy man. His wives and their handmaids bore him twelve sons, and as he was later named “Israel” by the Lord, they became the twelve tribes of Israel. Sadly, however, Jacob lost his beloved Rachel during the birth of her second son, Benjamin.
Of these many twists and turns in Jacob’s life, David Roper has this to say: “God will use anything to get our attention. It may be, as it was with Jacob, a change affecting a relationship—a much-loved child turning away from us, a long-term marriage unraveling, an old friendship fading away. It may be some prize we attain that leaves us feeling dissatisfied and empty, or something we lose that leaves us brokenhearted. It may be a change we cannot avert or a circumstance we cannot change. But whatever comes our way, we can be sure God’s love is behind it, helping to pry our fingers loose from this decaying earth and drawing us toward Him and our eternal home.”