Bible Couples: Jacob and Rachel
Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice and wept. Genesis 29:11
The biblical story of Jacob and Rachel is one of history’s great love stories, and it was love at first sight. When Jacob, who was a schemer and scoundrel at the time, arrived in Paddan Aram, he met Rachel when she came to water the sheep. She was “beautiful of form and appearance” (Genesis 29:17). Jacob kissed her, wept, and offered to work seven years for her hand. Their love story had more twists and turns than an Appalachian road, and it was marred by heartbreak, culminating in Rachel’s death during childbirth. If Shakespeare were writing their story, it would be among his tragedies.
But God was writing their story; and from the perspective of history we can see His providential overruling grace. Their sons, Benjamin and Joseph, are heroes of Jewish history. Their great descendant, Jesus Christ, is Savior of the world. And their love is eternal, for Jacob’s name is engraved on one of the gates of New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:12).
If your love story seems marred by hardship or tragedy, trust God with the outcome. Your life and love are overshadowed by His overruling grace.
A Single Thought: God’s providential care encompasses all His children—even during times of sorrow and loss.
Recommended Reading: Genesis 29:1-12
Building For Eternity
Which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it… —Luke 14:28
Our Lord was not referring here to a cost which we have to count, but to a cost which He has already counted. The cost was those thirty years in Nazareth, those three years of popularity, scandal, and hatred, the unfathomable agony He experienced in Gethsemane, and the assault upon Him at Calvary— the central point upon which all of time and eternity turn. Jesus Christ has counted the cost. In the final analysis, people are not going to laugh at Him and say, “This man began to build and was not able to finish” (Luke 14:30).
The conditions of discipleship given to us by our Lord in verses 26, 27, and 33 mean that the men and women He is going to use in His mighty building enterprises are those in whom He has done everything. “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple ” (Luke 14:26). This verse teaches us that the only men and women our Lord will use in His building enterprises are those who love Him personally, passionately, and with great devotion— those who have a love for Him that goes far beyond any of the closest relationships on earth. The conditions are strict, but they are glorious.
All that we build is going to be inspected by God. When God inspects us with His searching and refining fire, will He detect that we have built enterprises of our own on the foundation of Jesus? (see 1 Corinthians 3:10-15). We are living in a time of tremendous enterprises, a time when we are trying to work for God, and that is where the trap is. Profoundly speaking, we can never work for God. Jesus, as the Master Builder, takes us over so that He may direct and control us completely for His enterprises and His building plans; and no one has any right to demand where he will be put to work.
Both nations and individuals have tried Christianity and abandoned it, because it has been found too difficult; but no man has ever gone through the crisis of deliberately making Jesus Lord and found Him to be a failure. The Love of God—The Making of a Christian, 680 R