The story of Jacob is the story of God making promises to a flawed man and then shaping that man, while fulfilling His promises. Jacob eventually becomes the father of the 12 tribes that fashion the nation of Israel, but before he reaches that point he needs to grow. Jacob is a rascal (what his name means) from birth, when he was born grabbing the heel of his older twin brother. He went on to manipulate older brother Esau into trading his birth right for a bowl of soup and he also steals the blessing of their father, Isaac, by pretending to be Esau when blind Isaac is near death. It appears that the one who has stolen and deceived will emerge to be victorious. But Jacob finds his match in father in law, Laban, who tricks Jacob into first marrying his first born, but unlovely, daughter Leah before Jacob can marry the younger daughter he prefers. Jacob is forced to work 14 years for Laban before gaining his freedom. God knew that Jacob needed to learn that there was One above who would not be out maneuvered by him. And that is how it is today. God still makes promises to men for life and eternity that they have not earned. And then He shapes those men (and women) during the course of their lives to fulfill their Heavenly potential and bow before His sovereignty.
Genesis 25:23 And the Lord told her, "The sons in your womb will become two nations. From the very beginning, the two nations will be rivals. One nation will be stronger than the other; and your older son will serve your younger son."
Genesis 25:33 But Jacob said, "First you must swear that your birthright is mine." So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob.
Genesis 27:18 So Jacob took the food to his father. "My father?" he said.
"Yes, my son," Isaac answered. "Who are you—Esau or Jacob?"
19 Jacob replied, "It's Esau, your firstborn son. I've done as you told me. Here is the wild game. Now sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing."
Genesis 28:13 At the top of the stairway stood the Lord, and he said, "I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. 14 Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.15 What's more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you."
Genesis 28:20 Then Jacob made this vow: "If God will indeed be with me and protect me on this journey, and if he will provide me with food and clothing, 21 and if I return safely to my father's home, then the Lord will certainly be my God.
Genesis 29:25 But when Jacob woke up in the morning—it was Leah! "What have you done to me?" Jacob raged at Laban. "I worked seven years for Rachel! Why have you tricked me?"
26 "It's not our custom here to marry off a younger daughter ahead of the firstborn," Laban replied. 27 "But wait until the bridal week is over, then we'll give you Rachel, too—provided you promise to work another seven years for me."
blessings (apologies for the length today!)