This chapter is the beginning of the fruition of of who Jacob has become and is becoming. It is Jacob in the process of not only seeing the fruit of deception, but becoming the target and recipient of it. He must learn to accept the consequences and purposes that are out of his control. He must also work hard to achieve what his father had been freely given. This is the time when Jacob has to make a choice, do i rise to the challenge and be a man, or do i try to force my will on another person requiring that they give me what i feel like (and rightfully do) deserve, acting like a spoiled child?
This is a struggle that every person must face, especially every man. Jacob is trying to prove himself. He is trying to work and overcome. In this and the following chapters he is trying to be a man. He is answering the questions: Who am i? What gives me value? Where is my purpose? Like most every man, he is seeking to understand his role and his purpose. As such, he is wrestling with expectations placed on himself, and what he can and does achieve.
Leah is going through the same struggle in this chapter. She sees her value coming from her relationship with other people. So she wrestles with that. The fact that she is given to this man who does not love her in trickery. The fact that even in her role within that marriage she still cannot find true acceptance. She does what every woman of her world does, she pursues childbearing as a large part of who she is. She even succeeds in having son after son, but she still does not gain the acceptance and approval that she seeks. Finally, after wrestling and wrestling and wrestling, she finally finds her love and acceptance in God. She recognizes that He is her source of love and acceptance. As a result, her final son she names Judah, meaning “praise”. Praise to the LORD for His blessing and love.
How do we respond in the face of struggle and trial? Do we face it like a man (woman), or do we throw a fit and attempt to make everyone else bow to our will through force, control, or manipulation? Understand as Leah did, that our love and value can only come from one source. If we wrestle with and seek fulfillment of those desires through anything else, we will eventually be let down. It will never be enough. It is only by wrestling and finding our love and purpose in the LORD, in YHWH that we can finally praise.
A Masterpiece in Progress