“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to accept what is true.” - Soren Kierkegaard
There are few things less painful in life than being deceived. It is a fairly unpleasant experience. As a sixth grader at Springtown Middle School, Pokemon cards were “all the rage”, and I was in love with the things. What made these (or any other collectible for children) so fun was trading them. Learning what was rare and common and then trying to get a good deal out of trade. Well, one day I got duped. Believing I had received one of the rarest cards in a fantastic trade, I was devastated to learn it was a fake. To put it shortly, I was deceived.
Nothing in my life compares to the deception found in the three short chapters in this devotions Scripture reading. Jacob and Rebekah deceived Isaac, and Laban deceived Jacob. They were major tricks that played important roles in the rest of their lives.
The sad thing about any deception is the one being tricked. Their vulnerability is preyed upon. In the stories before us, Isaac is blind and that is exploited, and marriage tradition made it all but impossible for Jacob to clearly make out Leah on their wedding night. You can almost feel the sense of fear and anger when the deception is revealed to these men.
For Isaac, we could argue that he shouldn’t have even been considering blessing Esau. Instead of pointing blame and justifying other wrong doings, we can easily see this was a pitiful example of faith on everyone’s part. Esau had already rejected his birthright, Isaac was acting selfishly seeking what he wanted, Rebekah also wanted hers and was willing to do whatever it took, and Jacob was unwilling to have faith in God to accomplish His purposes. This was a dysfunctional family at its worst, and yet we see God working in the midst of their mess (what an amazing God He truly is!)
The truth remains though, Isaac was tricked. The temporary gain given to Rebekah and Jacob was short-lived. Jacob would spend most of his life running, no doubt Rebekah and Isaac’s marriage was never the same, and Esau stewed in hatred against his brother for years.
Jacob got a taste of his own medicine when it came time for his wedding. After working seven years for Rachel, Laban gave him Leah instead. Traditional marriages of the time would have had several days of festivities. At bedtime on the final night the bride would be awaiting her new husband. It seems fairly clear from the text that Jacob was unable to see due to it being dark, and her identity was not known until the morning. What a shock that must have been!
Again we see the selfishness of deception and Laban’s tendency to try to get as much as possible for as little as possible. This deception may have paid dividends in the short run, but over the long haul it caused hardship and heartache on almost everyone involved.
The moral of the lesson is clear, “O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!” - Walter Scott. Purpose to be truthful and upfront in all your dealings today.
Daily Scripture Reading
Genesis 27 - 29
(Follow this Scripture Reading Plan to accompany this devotion and read through your Bible in a year)
“And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.”