“So it came to pass in the morning, that behold, it was Leah. And he said to Laban, ‘What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served you? Why then have you deceived me?’ “
Genesis 29:25 (NKJ)
In his classic book, Great Expectations, Charles Dickens introduces vivid characters who struggle for survival, discover love, encounter failure, work hard and finally achieve success. Dickens’ book has earned the title of “classic” because it accurately depicts the human expectation of happiness within their prescribed lifetime. But great expectations must be tempered with the knowledge that it is God who has the final say with regard to man’s plans and purpose. In God’s providence, He “divinely superintends” all things to His predetermined end. This was the lesson for Jacob as he sought fulfillment of the “promise of a seed” (Gen. 28:14).
Jacob had great expectations as he approached Laban for the hand of Rachel, who was “beautiful of form and appearance” (Gen. 29:17). He anticipated that this marriage was the vehicle that God had chosen for fulfillment of that which was promised to him at Bethel. Instead, he woke the morning after his wedding married to the eldest daughter, Leah, “with the delicate eyes.” The deception by Laban would result in the delay of his great expectation with an immediate view of seven additional years of laboring for his uncle.
Leah had great expectations in her marriage to Jacob. Although she knew he didn’t love her at the time of their marriage, she hoped, with the birthing of four (4) sons, her husband would love her (v. 32). But it was not to be the case. However “when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, He opened her womb” (v. 31). The refusal by Jacob to love Leah would result in the denial of her great expectation with an immediate view of rejection and heartache.
Jacob would eventually marry Rachel but the promised seed would not come from their union. The LORD chose the despised mother and exalted her to be the first mother of the nation of Israel. The kingly tribe of Judah and the priestly tribe of Levi would trace back to Leah. In reading the Scriptures, God was always providentially engaged in the fulfillment of Israel’s destiny. Israel’s purpose could only be achieved through God’s benevolence and divine control that resulted in its care, provision, and protection; in all cases, the intentions of God took precedence and His purposes were always accomplished (Isa. 48:17).
Every aspect of human life is included in God’s providential orderings. Just as God divinely superintended (and still does) His plan for Israel, He is concerned and involved in the lives of individual believers. We may wonder why our great expectations have been delayed or even denied. Our immediate view, like that of Jacob and Leah, may be “short-sighted” and not take into consideration the larger plan of God. It is during these times that we must set aside our fears and doubts and connect to the Spirit within us. It is in dialogue with Him that we realize that God’s purpose is far better than anything we can humanly devise (1 Cor. 2:9). Why? As our Father-Creator, He knows the purpose for which He has created us (Ps. 139:13-14) and how to best accomplish that purpose (Jer. 10:23; 29:11).
What great expectation are you waiting for? Be not discouraged but only trust in God. We are continually in His view and are the object of His affection (Joel 2:21, 23, 26). Let us praise Him in the midst of our waiting like the Psalmist who wrote, “My soul wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him (Ps. 62:5).
TIME TO RESPOND
This week you will have an opportunity to practice reflective prayer as part of your Lenten Season, “Journey of THE CROSS”.
Is there some great expectation you are waiting for? Have it been delayed or even denied? As we experience God this season, we are confident that God will care for all your needs–even when it doesn’t seem like it. Go to your “quiet place” and prepare your heart for this reflective prayer exercise. Set aside about 8 minutes for this time. You’re worth it and God’s waiting to meet you there.
Click here to begin
Choose the second slide, “Jehovah-Jireh”
then push the “Play” button.