Genesis: Rags to riches

Genesis 30:14–43

The question to ask in all of this: Why these stories? All the things that happen in the lives of these people, so what do these events have to do with God and the Great Story?

Perhaps this is one instance where a passage serves the big picture rather than providing a tidy little life application and lesson.

Jacob is remembered later in the story as a wealthy man with a huge family. But at the beginning, when he first runs away from home, he has nothing. He’s sleeping outside on rocks. So Jacob’s story is one of those classic rags-to-riches stories. So Genesis tells us how that transformation happens, and it addresses it both in terms of family and riches.

So first, family. Going back to the first promise to Abraham, God promises multiplication of descendants. But Abraham has only one son. God promises the same to Isaac, and Isaac has two sons. Now Jacob has 12.

And we’re given details about where these 12 children come from. They don’t just happen and it’s one big happy family. There’s drama. Boy, is there ever drama. These 12 children come from 4 different women—2 sisters and their 2 servants. That’s just the reality of that world. Not necessarily normal (both Abraham and Isaac take a single wife at a time), but it’s not frowned on, either.

Then we’re told about how Jacob went from having nothing to having a whole lot of stuff. In classic Jacob style, he outsmarts Laban with an elaborate flock-breeding scheme. Did you catch the irony in verse 33 of Jacob appealing to “my honesty”? Jacob and Laban are both two cutthroat businessmen, like two expert chess players, each competitively trying to screw the other one over. And in the end, Jacob wins.

What about you? What do you see?


About peterjwhite

I am a pastor to college students in Tulsa, OK.
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