SOAP Journal – 07 October 2016 (Genesis 29:20)

So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her.

Genesis 29:20

The So with which this verse begins reminds me that this seven years that Jacob serves for Rachel are an agreement of the wages that Jacob will receive for the work that he does for Laban … who happens to be his uncle.

I note that things were different back then. Jacob was staying with family and was working. There are instances in modern life in which people stay with family and mooch. It seems that such a thing was not tolerated back when.

Jacob’s family offered to pay him for his work. I have heard of instances of “family businesses” in which the relatives working there — usually the children of the business owner — did not receive wages. This, it would appear, was also frowned upon (at least when the worker was considered an adult).

And the part about which people are likely to get most upset is the fact that Rachel is not consulted with regard to whom she marries. She is given to Jacob as wages. This is a non-starter in modern Westernized countries, but it was the norm when this was written. I can get all angry and butt hurt about The Bible telling it how it is, or I can appreciate that The Bible does not sugar coat things and try to tell me that the world has always been the way that I experience it now.

The last thing I notice, and the thing on which I want to focus, is that Jacob’s service — all seven years of it — felt to Jacob like a few days because of his love for Rachel. I am not going to wander off on a romantic rabbit trail. I am focused on the fact that love for someone (or something) makes time go by more quickly. If I am doing something I love to do, then I can spend hours doing it and not notice that the time has gone by. Conversely, I have to slog through those times when I must do things that I find arduous. When I spend time with people I love — my wife, my kids, my parents and siblings (including in-laws), and my friends — time often flies by. It is as if the visit has only begun and it is time to leave.

Is it like that with God?

That is where this leads me this morning. I do not feel the urge to get sappy and romantic, but I do wonder if the time I spend with God flies by and if years seem like a few days because of love for Him. If no, I suspect it is because I lack love.

Father, teach me to love You better; to love You as You have loved and continue to love me. I know that my efforts to love are lacking, because there have been times when talking with You in prayer or reading Your Word have felt laborious. And it should not be that way. Please increase my love for You, so that the times we spend together are nothing but joy.

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