Today’s One Year Bible reading in Genesis 30:1–31:16 is full of rivalry, jealousy, and cheating—basically, people wanting their own way and being willing to do whatever it took to get it.
The passage begins with Jacob at the home of his Uncle Laban, after having to leave home because he (with his mother Rebecca’s help) had tricked his father Isaac into giving him the blessing that normally would belong to his older brother Esau. Jacob fell in love with Laban’s daughter Rachel, but Laban’s dishonesty resulted in Jacob marrying both Rachel and her sister Leah. Leah began having children, but Rachel didn’t, which led to rivalry between the sisters. That led to Rachel and Leah each giving Jacob their servants as wives, so they could have children through their servants. While this was in accordance with the local custom, it only intensified the rivalry and jealousy in the family.

The deception continued into Jacob’s work as he tended Laban’s flock of sheep and goats. After agreeing on Jacob’s wages—the speckled, spotted and black animals from the flock—Laban immediately spirited away the sheep and goats that he should have given Jacob to start his own flock with. So Jacob had to “start from scratch” building his own flock.

Jacob succeeded in building his own flock at the expense of Laban’s, and he became a very wealthy man. Sadly, that led to more jealousy, which eventually resulted in Jacob having to leave Laban’s household, taking his family and all he possessed with him.

Remarkably, God was at work through all of this underhandedness. God had made a promise to Jacob’s grandfather Abraham, and He repeated it to Jacob while he was on his way to Laban’s home:
“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. 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. 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.” (Gen. 28:13, NLT)

And God was faithful to His promise. According to Ps. 76:10, “Even human wrath will praise You; You will clothe Yourself with their remaining wrath.” (HCSB). God was using the “human wrath” of Laban, Jacob, Rachel, Leah, and the rest to accomplish His purposes.

God is sovereign—omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent—and good. He will carry out His will, using even human wrath to accomplish His purpose. For, as 1 Thess. 5:24 says, “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” (NASB)

Even though Genesis 30:1–31:16 is full of rivalry, jealousy, and cheating, God is at work through it all. So we can trust God with our lives. Even when we’re “messing up,” we can rest assured that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” (Rom. 8:28, NLT)

Yes, God is faithful in spite of sin!

by Darrel Eppler, Elder

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