Bible reading for today: Genesis 28-30, Matthew 8
As I read the familiar story of Jacob this morning, all I could think about was how much it must have sucked to be Jacob. I can’t imagine working for seven years for a beautiful wife, and then being saddled first with her freaky-eyed sister. And then to have to turn around and work for seven more years to earn the pleasure of the beautiful wife. I have to admit that if I had been Jacob, I’d have taken Rachel and run. I don’t have much patience in that regard.
It’s funny how when I was growing up, I remember hearing the story as Jacob working for seven years to get Rachel, but then Laban tricked him and gave him Leah. Then he had to work seven more years in order to get Rachel. In other words, he was stuck for seven years sleeping with a woman he didn’t love while working all day to purchase the woman he did love. The actual story is that he is given Leah, asked to finish his “bridal week” with her, and then immediately given Rachel. And if you’re Leah, this story is even more heart-breaking. Here you are with freaky eyes, being given to a man who doesn’t want you, being asked to finish out a “bridal week” with him, all the while you know he’s fantasizing about your sister?! What the hell?
I remember distinctly, when Genesis 29 came up in our Sunday School rotation, questioning how this particular story related to my Christian life. I think I was in middle school or high school when I asked what I was supposed to learn from it. I was probably waved off or given some kind of inadequate answer. I think now, from an adult perspective, I can see that it boils down to a Rolling Stones song title, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” True story, my friends, you can’t always get what you want, but if you’re Jacob, in this instance, I suppose you get what you need.
Seriously, I am sure there is some deeper theological meaning behind this story, and we know that out of this chaos and with a few children had by handmaidens comes the Twelve Tribes of Israel. After the small issues of jealousy and a little treachery, Leah, Zilpah, Rachel, and Bilhah gave birth to lots of boy children. The youngest of whom is Joseph, the deliverer of his family from famine. And, I suppose this is a huge lesson in grace. Jacob didn’t cut and run, like I would have. He patiently worked for the love of his life.
Best stew ever:
1 pound of beef, some butter, four strips of bacon, one big onion, two cups of carrots, four cups of cabbage, three apples, 4 cups of beef broth, a bit of salt, a polish sausage
First: In a big pot, cook the bacon, which you’ve cut into 1-inch squares. Remove the bacon from the pot but leave the grease, and add the butter. Brown the beef, which you’ve cut into 1-inch cubes. Add the onion, which you’ve chopped, and the apples, which you’ve also chopped. Cook for a bit, then add the beef broth and let it all simmer for an hour and 30 minutes.
Second: Add in the carrots and the polish sausage and simmer for 20 minutes.
Third: Add in the cabbage and the bacon, which you removed earlier. Cook for another 10 minutes or until the cabbage is tender.
Last: Eat it because it’s delicious.
This week at school is homecoming week. Let’s just say I have almost as much school spirit being a teacher as I had being a high school student. Next to none. Woot.