Archive for February 9th, 2019

Genesis 31Connivance

Saturday, February 9, 2019

William Dyce: The Meeting of Jacob and Rachel

Written on February 16, 2009 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

Everyone – men and women alike – seems to be trying to outwit one another as we read these old, old stories in this first book of sacred scripture.  It is no wonder that our long story of relationship with God can be seen as a protracted struggle in which we attempt to bend God to our own wishes; and in this conflict God, of course, always wins.  Today we see the struggle between Jacob’s wives to gain control over him and to bear children alongside the contortions in Jacob’s relationship with Rachel’s family.  It seems that no one is honest or open about who they are, what they represent, or what they honestly desire.  This story, along with so many others from scripture, reads like a script for a weekday afternoon soap opera.  After reading this chapter in the life of Jacob – a man who, with his mother’s help cheats his brother of his birthright – we have the opportunity to reflect on our own relationship with God, and to remind ourselves how so often with God the very thing one plots and connives against another is brought home to act on us.  Later in Genesis, Jacob is himself cheated out of many years of a life with his favored son, Joseph.  We see in this story of Jacob a conniving son who through the connivance of his own sons in cheated out of time with his favored child, Joseph.  My mother would say: The chickens will always come home to roost, or Let the chips fall where they may.  God, as always, is in control; and God teaches us well through our own actions.  We call this kind of conniving reward for a schemer Divine Justice.  And so it is, for God’s method of discipline in this way teaches us as no other lesson can.  It is a basic truth that we only see a true image of ourselves when measuring life with a measuring stick of our own making.

Intertwined in these stories of deception, betrayal and falsehood is the counterpoint to this human experience: in the face of so much suffering is the constancy of God’s love and concern for us.  God never abandons.  God never gives up.  God never gives in.  With his love he reassures us.  With his patience he waits with us.  With his courage he endures for us.  Despite our fickle and whimsical ways – today I support you, tomorrow I may not, today I love you tomorrow I may notGod calls, God resides, God heals and cures, God saves – you are mine and despite your foibles I love you, you are mine and despite your straying I forgive you, you are mine and despite your missteps I seek intimacy with you. 

God and humanity – creator and created – lover and loved – savior and saved – this is the relationship we have, and it is the relationship we cannot change despite our trying.  God in his marvelous way allows us to see what we do to others . . . through our own actions.  When we curse, we are cursed.  When we bless, we are blessed.  When we believe, we are believed by those who matter.  When we love with a love that endures despite all . . . we are loved with a love that lasts for all of time.

After reflecting on the story of Jacob, his wives and his family, we learn a marvelous lesson: God’s Justice is our own justice come back to visit us; God’s patience is our own endurance come back to bolster us; God’s love is our own love come back to us a million fold.  God takes what we give . . . multiplies it . . . and returns it back to us.  Deceit for deceit.  Truth for truth.  Connivance for connivance.  Love for love.  This story is quite simple after all.

A re-post from February 9, 2012.

Image from: http://www.artknowledgenews.com/2009_07_10_22_07_03_william_dyce_discovery.html

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