Veggie Tales, featuring Bob and Larry as animated, singing vegetables, was a successful children’s Christian series and a dream come true for co-creator Phil Vischer. But after the business faced bankruptcy, Vischer realized he had treated success as an idol. He observed, “The impact that God has planned for us does not occur when we are pursuing impact. It occurs when we are pursuing God.” Through those difficult times, Vischer was reminded that God was sovereign: “Let go of outcomes and put your plans in God’s hands and let Him direct your steps.”
In today’s reading, Jacob learned an important life lesson, too. Jacob had been deceptive in the past. He stole Esau’s birthright and his father Isaac’s blessing. But in meeting his relative Laban he found a man who was even better at scheming than he was. Laban took advantage of the circumstances, including Jacob’s dependent situation and the young man’s romantic feelings for his daughter Rachel. In one deceptive move, he married off his eldest daughter, Leah, and obtained fourteen years of free labor in the bargain.
There’s a certain dramatic irony in Jacob’s question, “Why have you deceived me?” (v. 25). When Laban responded with a cultural excuse and an obviously premeditated proposal, Jacob must have realized he’d been set up. But in the larger narrative, we see God’s just and loving discipline shaping Jacob’s spiritual character. Jacob stopped relying on himself and his own abilities and trusted in the Lord instead. God was not surprised or deceived by any of these events. And, of course, it’s worth remembering that the Messiah came through the line of David, of the tribe of Judah, and the son of Leah (Gen. 29:35).
>> Have you experienced failure? Consider the life lessons you learned from those events. Have you ever shared this story with others in order to bring God glory? We encourage you to do so, in conversation or perhaps even in writing.
We invite you to reflect on the truths we’ve learned so far. May we look to the Lord during our times of failure and discouragement, thank Him, and see opportunities for growth in His discipline.