Genesis 30:4 – So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob went in to her.
As we’ve moved through the family line to the story of Jacob, who is now an adult with too many wives and too much baby mama drama, we learn a number of lessons through all that he got wrong. Sometimes, people will foolishly say that they’re going to do something because the Bible talks about it but, oftentimes, the Bible gives us a warning for what not to do, and this is the case here with Jacob.
His story has numerous lessons and takeaways for all types of people, including the following six:
- A lesson for everyone: What you want ain’t what you need. When you try to put yourself in the place of God and go against His plan for your life and what He’s called you to do, even if it seems like it works out in the short term, things are not going to turn out well ultimately in the long term. Jacob ends up with two wives because of the girls’ dad’s meddling and, when the one he loves isn’t able to have children, they take matters into their own hands, leading to 12 children, one of which becomes the favorite.
- A lesson for men: Siring is easy. Fathering is hard. For most men, it’s pretty simple and easy to bring a child into this world. But it takes a real man to stick around and raise them as a father, discipling them, blessing them, pouring into their lives as God calls men to do with their children. As we’ll see down the line, Jacob is a decent father to some of his children and a horrifically negligent father to others.
- A lesson for women: Drama + Sex does not = Joy. Rachel really wanted a child with her husband Jacob, whom she loved, but when she was barren, she gave her servant to her husband to have a kid. The plan was successful but if your husband sleeps with other women just to make it happen, it’s going to cause bitterness and loneliness on the part of the wife.
- A lesson for marrieds: If Jesus is not Lord of the marriage, there will be a bitter battle. Jacob and his wives (the fact that he had not one but two wives gives this fact away) did not seek the Lord’s will for them in childbearing and childrearing and this leads to bitterness, jealousy, and favoritism that hurts their lives and their children’s for years to come.
- A lesson for singles: The best way to prepare for marriage to one person is by dating only one person. This may seem too simple and straightforward but in our day of dating, relating, and fornicating, it goes against the cultural norm to seriously and faithfully date one person prior to marriage. If you date multiple people at the same time or date and break up quickly and easily, you’re preparing for polygamy or divorce, not marriage.
- A lesson for parents of adult children: Controlling parents raise adult children to be controlled. If you control your child rather than teaching them to trust and rely on the Holy Spirit, they’re going to “grow up” to be foolish and unable to take care of themselves as an adult should. When Jacob left home, fleeing the wrath of his older brother, Esau, he was taken advantage of by his uncle Laban because he was so over-mothered that he was unable to think and make decisions for himself.
The book of Genesis, and especially the last two chapters, hold lessons for people in any life stage and is one of the best case studies in family and generational patterns, both positive and negative.
What has been your biggest takeaway or lesson learned from the past two chapters of Genesis?
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