Carolyn Kempf wrote in Christian Reader magazine about her time in Bible college dating a certain fellow. During their first month of dating, they decided they should study the Bible together. She writes: “With my plot well set, one night I opened my Bible to (Proverbs 18:22) and read, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” I looked up, winked, and said, “Couldn’t you use a little favor from the Lord?”
My boyfriend, a Bible scholar, was quick with his reply from (Proverbs 10:10)–“He who winks the eye causes trouble.” (Carolyn Kempf, Jackson, Mo. Christian Reader, “Lite Fare.”)
These two decisions: Family and Career (outside of your decision to come to faith in Jesus) are the most important in terms of happiness, success and witness in this life. You don’t want to mess them up.
My advice to you? Bathe These (and all) Key Decisions in Prayer!
Jacob must have wished he did: “Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the sons of the east. 2 He looked, and saw a well in the field,… 10 When Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, Jacob went up and rolled the stone from the mouth of the well and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted his voice and wept. 12 Jacob told Rachel that he was a relative of her father and that he was Rebekah’s son, and she ran and told her father. (29:1-2, 10-12)
Jacob has now met the love of his life. He shows off his strength for her by moving the large stone holding back the well’s water. (Much like young men flexing their muscles for potential mates today.). He kisses her on their first meeting… rushing things a bit, perhaps, for his time and culture. But then look what happens next… 16 Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 And Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful of form and face. 18 Now Jacob loved Rachel, so he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” 19 Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than to give her to another man; stay with me.” 20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her. (29:16-20)
After Jacob had been there a bit (he was in no hurry to return back home to Esau who wanted to kill him)… Laban in a polite way says: “If you are going to live here you need to work.” So Laban asks: “What should I pay you?” Jacob looks over at Laban’s two daughters. (To obtain a wife is why I’m here after all… he thinks.) Jacobs says (pointing to Rachel) “I’ll take her.”
Now why did Jacob center in on the younger of Laban’s daughters? There is a clue in their names. Rachel’s name meant Ewe or Lamb. Leah’s name meant “Weary” or “Cow.” There are also clues in the text of Scripture. Rachel was beautiful of form and face we are told. Leah had “tender” or “weak” eyes. Some commentators try to say that this was said to mean a redeeming feature. But it seems in the text that her “weak” eyes were in contrast to Rachel’s beauty. Perhaps she was cross-eyed or had bulging eyes. Whatever the case… this is not a flattering description.
So Jacob says: “I’ll take Rachel.” And then he rolls up his sleeves and gets to work… and the years seem to fly by. Soon the 7 years are up.
21 Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my time is completed, that I may go in to her.” 22 Laban gathered all the men of the place and made a feast. 23 Now in the evening he took his daughter Leah, and brought her to him; and Jacob went in to her. 24 Laban also gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah as a maid. 25 So it came about in the morning that, behold, it was Leah! And he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served with you? Why then have you deceived me?” 26 But Laban said, “It is not the practice in our place to marry off the younger before the firstborn.
Jacob the deceiver finally gets a taste of his own medicine. That had to sting. Why did God allow this to happen? We could mistakenly look at this as being God’s fault instead of Jacob’s. But actually Jacob entered into the 2 most important decisions of his life without a lick of prayer. (Marriage to Leah and working for Laban were decisions not bathed in prayer!)
Let’s talk marriage first. Before you Spin the Wheel in the game of life and put that little peg spouse in the seat beside you… you better do some serious praying! We can be so sloppy in the pursuit of a mate… out of desperation or whatever.
Before you “wink the eye” and lay a trap for Mr or Mrs Right… invite God into your search. This chapter parallels another story in the book of Genesis. In Chapter 24 Abraham is concerned about finding a wife for his son Isaac. That story follows the same pattern as this one. Only in the earlier story, Abraham sends a servant to find Isaac’s bride.
That servant went to the city’s well. There he found the future Mrs. Isaac. He heads to the girl’s home where he is met with approval from the papa. Ultimately he brings Isaac his Rebekah. There are subsequently wedding bells chiming. There is a major difference in these two stories. In the story of the servant… the whole process was bathed in prayer. In chapter 24 Abraham invokes God when he charges his servant with the task of matchmaking. The servant prays to God to help him find the right girl as the girls of the city come out to draw water.
When he finds Rebekah he utters a prayer of thanksgiving. And when she finally agrees to go with him (for her daddy seemed reluctant) the Scripture says: “he bowed himself to the ground before the Lord.” Move back to chapter 29. There is no indication that Jacob prayed for or thanked God for anything in his entire wife seeking experience.
What would have happened if Jacob had prayed first?
Have a major decision in your life regarding a relationship or a job change? Have you spent the time you need on your knees before God? He sees down the road far better than we can.