Jacob, Laban and Two Wives

Genesis 29:1-30 Then Jacob went on his journey and came to the land of the people of the east. 2 As he looked, he saw a well in the field, and behold, three flocks of sheep lying beside it, for out of that well the flocks were watered. The stone on the well’s mouth was large, 3 and when all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the mouth of the well and water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place over the mouth of the well.

4 Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where do you come from?” They said, “We are from Haran.” 5 He said to them, “Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?” They said, “We know him.” 6 He said to them, “Is it well with him?” They said, “It is well; and see, Rachel his daughter is coming with the sheep!” 7 He said, “Behold, it is still high day; it is not time for the livestock to be gathered together. Water the sheep and go, pasture them.” 8 But they said, “We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together and the stone is rolled from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep.”

9 While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. 10 Now as soon as Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, Jacob came near and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept aloud. 12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s kinsman, and that he was Rebekah’s son, and she ran and told her father.

13 As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister’s son, he ran to meet him and embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban all these things, 14 and Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh!” And he stayed with him a month.

15 Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?” 16 Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. 18 Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” 19 Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.” 20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.

21 Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.” 22 So Laban gathered together all the people of the place and made a feast. 23 But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he went in to her. 24 (Laban gave his female servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her servant.) 25 And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?” 26 Laban said, “It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. 27 Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.” 28 Jacob did so, and completed her week. Then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. 29 (Laban gave his female servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her servant.) 30 So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served Laban for another seven years.

Intro And Background

This week we are in Genesis 29 and see the story of Jacob obtaining wives. This passage moves the story along as Jacob marries and with it the promise of offspring. But within the story there are several themes occurring that again highlight God’s providential work through, and for people. One thing I have learned as we’ve worked through Genesis is the varying ways God works out his purposes. Sometimes he speaks directly to characters. At other points the author explains exactly how God worked. And then there are other stories, like ours this morning, where God isn’t explicitly involved. He’s not mentioned by the author, none of the characters speak of God or acknowledge him. But Lord willing, we will be able to see a story of God’s providence delivered through irony.

Pray that we would see all that God wants us to see in the passage and turn it to worship. Would you pray with me?

Oh Lord, we thank you for bringing us here this morning. Thank you for all of the blessings and graces that enable us to worship you. Technology, a building, cars to get us here, religious freedom, the simple ability to get out of bed. Thank you for the Bible translated into English, and scholars to study and shoulders to stand on. Thank you for your Holy Spirit that dwells in the hearts of your people. Thank you that we can read and understand your word. Please illuminate this text this morning for all of us. Cause our faith to increase. Cause our sin to be exposed and repented of. Cause our affections to grow for you and to seek your glory. Thank you.

We thank you for your Word. No one else could write such a grand story through so many different times, and human authors. Help us to take the time to understand this piece of your Word and allow it to change us. May we see your providence and power. May we see your loving care of Jacob and his family and know that you are the same loving God to us today. May we clearly see how this passage, written thousands of years ago still points to the timeless gospel of Jesus Christ.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Have you ever seen a movie or read a book that features an unexpected twist that changes the outcome? Maybe it’s a story of the underdog who winds up with the beautiful girl at the end of the movie. Maybe it’s the bad guy in Whodunnit mystery. It looks like he’ll get away with his rotten plan, until the very last scene when the detective foils the plan because of a key detail. Maybe it’s a story where one of the bad guys turns out to be a double-agent who was working to foil the bad guys from the inside. Or Darth Vader telling Luke Skywalker, I am your father.

The more complex the irony, the more impactful the story can be. One of my favorite examples of this is in the movie Oceans 12. They all have the same basic plot: a bunch of really cool, good looking thieves. It’s a movie, so they are depicted more as Robin Hoods than really bad guys. They’re like nice thieves who don’t really mean to harm anyone. Anyway, they attempt an elaborate caper to steal some precious artifact. What makes it fascinating is that they are trying to steal the same thing as someone else. And the movie shows the Oceans crew failing at every point. They get caught and thrown in jail one by one. And with each compounding blunder it looks less and less likely that they will succeed. And it looks like their competitor has successfully stolen the prize. But then right at the end, the movie flashes back to earlier in the timeline and it shows how the Oceans crew steals the prize, and then the rest of the blundering is to cover their tracks and fool their archrival. And then the credits roll and you say, wait, what just happened!

It’s these surprising twists that make stories more powerful. This is the idea of irony. It’s a literary device to build drama and then draw you in to see something unexpected happen. And you might say, well that’s fine for a writer or director who gets to make things go how he wants, but that’s not real life. But our God is a storyteller, and uses a story to humble, sanctify and even point ahead to an even greater story of turning tables and flipping scripts. Our text this morning is a story filled with irony.

This morning we will see how God brings Jacob directly to Rachel, whom he loves. Rachel is the focus for Jacob, but his infatuation runs him right into his foe, Laban. A deceiver equal to Jacob. And it’s in this deception that we see how God also works to humble Jacob through the deception of Laban.

First, a quick recap will get us up to speed. Chapter 28. After Jacob tricked his older brother Esau out of their father, Isaac’s blessing, Jacob flees far away to escape Esau’s wrath. Isaac and Rebekah send Jacob to Rebekah’s home country to get a wife.

Last week we saw Jacob begin this journey when God meets him in a dream. God promises to be with him and keep him until he accomplishes what God promised to do. Jacob responds in worship at seeing God appear.

The story is broken into 2 basic sections: The first section is verses 1-14 where Jacob arrives and meets Rachel. The second major section is verses 15-30. The focus shifts to Jacob and Laban, along with Laban’s two daughters.

The main point is that God is accomplishing his purposes both in the story of redemption, and in, and through, Jacob’s life. God uses Jacob’s circumstances to provide a family for the promised people of God, first through wives and later offspring. But we can also see God’s sanctifying work in the life of Jacob as a way to bring him to greater faith and reliance on his God.

Scene 1: Jacob Meets Rachel (God Provides A Wife)

1 Then Jacob went on his journey and came to the land of the people of the east. 2 As he looked, he saw a well in the field, and behold, three flocks of sheep lying beside it, for out of that well the flocks were watered. The stone on the well’s mouth was large, 3 and when all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the mouth of the well and water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place over the mouth of the well.

Jacob arrives the region of his mother’s people and finds a well. The verses give a lot of detail about the well, the flocks and the stone. Why does the author do this?

Here’s the picture: there’s a well that is essentially covered with one large stone or possibly several smaller ones with a large one on top of the hole. The stone was so big and heavy, that it required several people to roll it away. So the shepherds had to work together to coordinate when they would water at the same time. This is made clearer by Jacob’s question in verse 8 which reinforces the idea of a heavy stone needing multiple people to roll it away.

While they’re talking, the men point out that Rachel is coming while she was probably still a long way off, but bringing sheep with her. Jacob again asks why won’t you water the sheep? Because it’s too heavy unless we all work together. All this talk brings us to the main focus of this scene. Rachel arrives. Look at verse 9 through 11.

Gen. 29:9 While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. 10 Now as soon as Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, Jacob came near and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept aloud.

Jacob sees Rachel, a woman from the family of Laban and in a feat of strength rolls the stone away by himself. Up to this point the Bible describes Jacob as kind of passive and soft. He was quiet and dwelled in tents compared to Esau who was a hunter and man of the field. Jacob was passive and mostly did what his mom told him to do. But now, after leaving his home and meeting God, he seems to grow. He is strong. We’ll see in the next section how solid his work ethic becomes. He works 14 years for Laban but it seemed like nothing to Jacob. Surely this physical strength was helpful to that end.

This scene at the well is very similar to the one in chapter 24 when Abraham sends his servant to find a wife for Isaac. Abraham gives instructions to go to his kin in Haran to find a non-Canaanite wife for Isaac to continue the line of blessing by having offspring. The servant goes and meets Rebekah and explains he’s looking for a wife for his master, Isaac. Rebekah then waters the servant’s camels. And then the servant gives a gold ring and bracelets to Rebekah as a marriage proposal.

Then Laban, Rebekah’s brother comes to meet the servant with great excitement.

Lots of these pieces are paralleled in our text here. Jacob has already been instructed to find a non-Canaanite wife, only this time it’s more specific: it should be a daughter of Laban. Jacob waters the flock of Laban instead of the other way around in the previous story. And after meeting Rachel we see Laban come running in excitement about this visitor.

There is one interesting detail that differs from chapter 24: Abraham’s servant prays and seeks the LORD for guidance and success in his duty. We don’t see Jacob do that. Maybe because his mother had told him to marry a daughter of Laban, it was very obvious that this was the Lord’s providence unfolding in front of him, and didn’t need to pray.

I don’t think it’s helpful to make too great of an argument from silence, that Jacob didn’t pray. But it does serve as a simple reminder to seek the LORD. Even in things that seem straightforward and are common sense, we still must submit everything to God in prayer. Proverbs 16 teaches this in a few ways:

1 The plans of the heart belong to man,
but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.

3 Commit your work to the LORD,
and your plans will be established.

9 The heart of man plans his way,
but the LORD establishes his steps.

Each verse is emphasizing our need to submit our plans hopes and dreams to God. He gave us brains, he gave us means to accomplish things, but even our brains, means, and hearts can be flawed and we make wrong decisions. It can easy to recognize our need for God’s guidance when the direction or decision isn’t clear. But what about when it seems obvious which way to go? We still must seek the LORD and submit our plans to Him.

Back to the story. Jacob sees Rachel’s appearance and kisses her. And then he weeps. This seems like a strange first impression. For you single guys, this is probably a way to scare a girl. But for Jacob he seems to be rejoicing. He has made it to Laban’s family and has found one of his daughters. It appears that God has provided a wife for him.

Now before it gets too weird, Jacob does manage to explain who he is and why he’s here. He’s a relative and the son of Rebekah.

So Jacob kisses Rachel, Rachel runs to Laban, Laban hears the news and runs back, kisses and embraces Jacob. Just as I noted in the earlier well scene with the servant and Rebekah, Laban greets Jacob and invites him to his home. Then he says to Jacob, ‘you are my bone and my flesh’.

This is a phase used throughout the Old Testament to acknowledge family relationships. It is how Adam first recognized Eve when God created her. Other people use it as a way to declare the closeness of a relationship.

There’s also some irony in Laban’s statement too. We don’t know how much Jacob shared about his past, but sharing anything about what brought him to Laban has to make Laban realize, “Hey, you’re just like me!” Remember what Jacob’s name means. If you met someone named Peter the Great or Sophia the Wise you might get a clue to their character. Here Laban encounters Jacob the Cheat. Esau had recognized the fitting name for his brother. It is certainly a possible clue that Laban saw an opportunity.

After having to flee with only his life from his home, things are looking pretty good for Jacob. God has already said He’d be with him. He’s apparently super strong, he’s found a girl and even the father seems pretty excited about him being there. Everything’s coming up roses! Now, having already heard this whole passage we know what is in store for Jacob. But that doesn’t discount God’s providence in this scene. Things are going well for Jacob. Praise God. The promise from chapter 28 that God would be with him and keep him is proven here.

We can take comfort in the fact that God is truly with us in the times when things are going well. Don’t feel bad when you experience God’s favor. Give thanks and receive blessings with humility.

Laban’s appearance moves the story to scene 2. We move from Jacob and the object of his affection, Rachel, to Jacob and Laban, and Laban’s deception.

Scene 2: Jacob, Laban And 2 Wives (God Humbles Jacob)

15 Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?”

-Laban is calling Jacob his kin, flesh and bone, but now instead of treating him like a member of the family, he enters into a contract. What are your wages? I’ll even let you pick them. It could sound generous, but Laban is asserting his status as owner and putting Jacob in his place as employer.

16 Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance.

This is the first mention of another daughter, Leah. Notice that the text says that she’s the older and Rachel is the younger. We’ve heard this kind of comparison before. Jacob the younger and Esau the older. Here is another subtle hint at Jacob’s deceitful past.

Verse 17 compares the two sisters. Leah’s eyes were weak, which your Bible might also note as tender or soft. What this exactly means is less clear, but when Leah is contrasted with Rachel’s outward beauty it’s clear what Jacob is interested in. While the Bible talks about inner beauty as more important, it does acknowledge that outward beauty does exist. Sarah and Rebekah were noted for their beauty. It is clear that this is what motivates Jacob, and from the first time he saw Rachel, his desire is based on her outward appearance.

18 Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”

Unlike when Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for Isaac, Jacob doesn’t have any gifts to give for a wife. When Jacob fled from Esau, it was probably rushed. He couldn’t take time to pack much of anything. So he agrees to work for seven years for his bride instead.

19 Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.”

Knowing how the story goes, we already see Laban’s deception at work. He will cheat the cheater. And if he hadn’t already made plans, we see the beginning of his plan to trick Jacob into marrying Leah, and eventually Rachel.

Jacob asks to work for Rachel and the price is seven years. Here’s another ironic clue: Laban is ambiguous enough here that it’s not a lie. He says, I’ll give her to you, without naming the daughter, while also leaving the door open for his plan.

Why would Laban trick Jacob? It can be challenging to know people’s motivations unless they are explained in the text. While it’s not totally clear why he tricks Jacob, but there’s a few clues to why he might want to.

  1. Verse 9 says that Rachel was a shepherdess. Genesis notes in later chapters that Laban has sons, but they may not have been very old at this point in the story. There might be a need for someone like Jacob to work and keep Laban’s flocks. Jacob has already displayed his strength. Now seeing that Jacob doesn’t have a way to pay a bridal price, Laban use this to his advantage and get a lot of labor out of Jacob.
  2. He says here in verse 19 that it’s better that his daughters marry within the family. It doesn’t say exactly why, but Jacob was instructed to marry a non-Canaanite woman, maybe Laban had similar concerns.
  3. Maybe Laban realized that Leah’s odds of getting married were not good, and this was a way to ensure marriage and children for her.

Verse 20 then shows the agreement that leads to a wedding.

20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her. 21 Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.” 22 So Laban gathered together all the people of the place and made a feast.

Jacob completes seven years with ease because of his love for Rachel. And then Jacob asks for his wife as his wages. And the wedding will be celebrated with a feast. From Jacob’s perspective, so far so good. But here beginning in verse 23 we see the plot twist most clearly with the climax coming in verse 25 and then the line by Laban exposes the trickery.

23 But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he went in to her. 24 (Laban gave his female servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her servant.) 25 And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?” 26 Laban said, “It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.

Before we get to the climax, maybe the obvious question you have is, how did Jacob not know? How would he not know the person in such an intimate situation?

It seems like there could be several factors contributing to his blindness.

  1. It was dark. Like really dark. There’s no lights. It’s similar to the story of Ruth at the threshing floor.
  2. Leah is probably veiled, further concealing her identity.
  3. Jacob also is infatuated with Rachel and was focused on consummating the relationship. This seems to add to his blindness. This is seen in verse 21 in his request. “Give me my wife so I can go into her.”
  4. It also seems likely that after an all-day feast, Jacob may have been drunk and not seeing what he should have seen. Much like Noah and Lot were previously drunk and embarrassed.

In the morning it was Leah! What a surprise! Jacob has been tricked. And Jacob the cheater complains to Laban. Why have you deceived me? As the audience, we can see what Jacob hasn’t quite recognized yet. Jacob the younger cheated his way to Esau’s birthright and blessing has now had the tables turned on him to marry the firstborn instead of the younger. There is justice here beyond what even Laban can understand or appreciate.

Now this seems like a form of cosmic justice where God is punishing a deceiver through deceit. But it also the way that God works to graciously sanctify Jacob. He will be thoroughly humbled during his time with Laban. He enters the land fresh off a dream where God speaks to him, he responds in worship and things are going really well. Full of vigor he sees a girl and falls in love with her, moves a huge stone, and things couldn’t be better. God provided a wife. Things are all looking up for Jacob. Maybe all of that drama with Esau is in the past? Until God used Laban to humble him. It’s another example of God using people and circumstances to accomplish his purposes. And God doesn’t have one specific purpose in a given situation. He is capable of carrying out multiple things at once. Which we see in our story. God furthers the plan of redemption by providing a wife for Jacob which will bring offspring to continue the e family line and begin this company of a nation.

And God also works through providence to sanctify Jacob. Jacob will need more than his own ability and devices to get through life. He will have to reckon with his past sins and relationships. Over time, his strength and his cleverness will all be taken away or thwarted. And ultimately, we will see Jacob be conformed to God’s desires instead of his own.

How have you seen God redirect your plans? Are you able to see God’s work even it appeared as bad news at first?

The story continues as Laban offers Rachel for another seven years of work. Jacob agrees because of his desire for Rachel. He does this and takes Rachel for his second wife.

This far into the story you might have some questions about this arrangement. Jacob is one of many examples in the Old Testament to have more than one wife.

Here are some questions you might have:

Why does Jacob take two wives?

If God brought him to Nahor for a wife, why does God’s providence include 2?

Even though he was tricked, is it right for Jacob to still marry Rachel?

Is God pleased with this arrangement? Doesn’t this come about as part of his providence?

The short answer is some of these we can’t fully know the answer, but let me spend a few minutes to address what the Bible says about marriage and how this story fits within that.

Quick Points On Marriage And God’s Providence In The Bible

1. The Bible never instructs or teaches taking multiple wives.

God’s design for marriage, from the beginning and throughout the Bible is one man and one woman.

Gen 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

And in case we might think the Bible softens or progresses from this stance after the Garden of Eden, we see it in the law in Leviticus 18:18 it tells us, And you shall not take a woman as a rival wife to her sister, uncovering her nakedness while her sister is still alive.

Then the New Testament quotes Genesis 2, when discussing marriage. So the explicit teaching throughout the whole Bible is that marriage is between one man and one woman.

2. The Bible never praises polygamy or points to it as an example to follow.

Starting with Lamech in Genesis 4, we see many examples of multiple wives in the Bible. Abraham, Esau, King David, King Solomon are just some of the prominent examples. Many of these examples are men who are overall commended for their lives of faith. But even in the cases where righteous men take more than one wife, they are never commended for this action.

The opposite is actually presented in these accounts. As we will see with Jacob, having two wives, plus the two servants, Bilhah and Zilpah, who are also given to Jacob and will bear him children, the problems compound. There’s more conflict, there’s more strife. Jacob will favor Rachel over Leah. This should make sense when someone goes against the Creator’s design. Of course there will be problems. If you try and build a foundation with Styrofoam instead of concrete block, of course you’re going to have problems down the road. The same is true with marriage.

3. While God’s moral will is for marriage between one man and one woman, he still sovereignly works through these circumstances.

This is the part of God’s providence that is harder to wrap our heads around. We don’t get all of the insight to God’s sovereign will. This is described well in Deuteronomy 29:29: “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

What is plain in God’s word is his moral law. That we should obey completely. What we don’t always get to see is those secret things, all the ways that God is at work to perfectly carry out his purposes.

While the Bible doesn’t prescribe polygamy, we also see God fulfill his purposes through the sins of man. Should Jacob have taken Leah instead of Rachel? Should he have stopped after realizing he had actually married Leah? According to God’s good design and moral will, the answer is yes. Was it in God’s plan for Jacob to marry Leah and Rachel? In another sense, we also have to say yes.

And that’s where we have to leave things.

30 So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served Laban for another seven years.

Just like his parents did with their children, Jacob plays favorites with his wives. And we also get one more glimpse into the irony of this story. Just as God hated Esau and loved Jacob, we see Jacob loving Rachel more than Leah. In fact, the next verse, verse 31 says that Leah was indeed hated.

Hopefully by now we see the irony of the story to bring about God’s purposes.

We see other cases of irony in the Bible where the table get turned. And God uses irony in different ways. Sometimes it’s for judgement and deliverance like in the story Haman in the book of Esther. Haman hates Mordecai and plots to kill him. He builds a gallows to hang Mordecai. But as his plot is discovered, the tables are turned and Haman ends up hanging on the very gallows he built. Instead of the bad guy winning, he loses in the worst way imagined. Curse gets turned into blessing for God’s people.

We see irony work most powerfully in the case of Jesus. Whatever good we can say about Jacob, Christ is superior. Jacob displayed impressive strength, Jesus strength is made perfect in weakness. Jacob was willing to work hard for 14 years. He was motivated by his love for Rachel and the work flew by like it was nothing. Jesus Christ came to do the work of his Father. And he was motivated by the glory of the Father, something far greater than a love for Rachel. He pursued his bride, and was faithful until the end.

He endured and persevered because of the joy set before him.

John 17:4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.

Jesus accomplished his work by fulfilling the law. He obeyed God’s moral will perfectly, in our place.

Just like Jacob he had to deal with the deceiver, Jesus faced off with the deceiver too. First to endure temptation towards sin and later the temptation to not drink the cup. But He resisted the deceiver every time.

Even more, as people waited for a mighty Messiah to come and rescue his people through military might, Jesus came as a humble servant. He was scorned, beaten and nailed to a cross. And almost everyone assumed that the Messiah had failed, and that his body would stay in the grave. The disciples thought it was over. Satan thought it was over. But just like Jacob getting fooled was not the end of his story, death was not the end of Jesus’ story. And he did it for deceivers and cheats like you and me. And for idolators and adulterers like us. And he did it knowing full well what we are and were in order that we, the church, would be his redeemed, spotless bride.

Conclusion

God carries out his purposes through and for Jacob. Wives have brought the promise of offspring, and God continues to humble and conform Jacob. We see glimpses of Jacob’s character that God will continue to draw out. The story of Jacob continues and the next stage, offspring, will be the focus going forward. Laban will still be a significant character. And God will continue to work in numerous ways to accomplish his plans, both for the story of redemption and within the lives of his characters.

Lord, there is so much here. Help us to marvel at your sovereign will. How you have kept us, and are sanctifying us now. Please give us the power to fight sin. Give us the faith to trust that you are at work, even in hard stuff. Jesus thank you for being the faithful worker and husband. Increase our longing to do your will, and to desire to be with you forever in glory. Amen