Jacob needed faith without scheming. He had spent most of his life making manipulative plans. First, he bought the birthright from his brother Esau for a bowl of soup. (Genesis 25) Then his mother, Rebekah, helps him concoct a plan to impersonate Esau and get the firstborn’s blessing. (Genesis 27) At this point, angry Esau wanted to kill Jacob.
Then Jacob is sent away under the pretense of getting a Godly wife. On the way, he has a dream of a staircase to heaven. In this dream, God renews the covenant He had made with Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham, and his father, Isaac. Even with this fantastic dream, Jacob wants to be in control and responds with a conditional vow. He will only follow God when God follows through on His promises.
Even when he meets Rachel at the well, Jacob wants the other shepherds to leave. I think he does this so that he can be alone with Rachel. He is still scheming and manipulating.
Discipline Through Life Circumstances
God needs to prepare Jacob for life’s tasks, and He will do this through difficult circumstances. First, Jacob must learn to serve. This includes setting aside his desires for the will of another. Jacob will learn this by working for Laban. After this lesson, Jacob will be able to set aside his will for the will of God.
Second, God teaches Jacob how it feels to be on the receiving end of deception. Jacob had always focused on what was best for him. Now he was probably a source of laughter for Laban’s friends because he didn’t even realize he was marrying the wrong girl.
Third, Jacob will learn to wait. It will take 14 years of hard labor under his father-in-law for his two wives: one wife he wanted badly and the other he never wanted. After 14 years, he will be a different man. Jacob will be able to trust God with faith instead of scheming.
Faith to Follow God
Hebrews 11:1 Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Faith is trust that God knows what He is doing even when we can’t see it. It is trusting that God has the plan, and I don’t have to manipulate and scheme to form the plan.
God had a plan to send Jesus, and He would do this through the family of Jacob. Now, we can’t scheme our way to eternal life; we can only trust that the blood of Jesus paid the price for our sins. God still uses life circumstances to discipline us and build our faith.
To hear about faith without scheming, listen here: