Rembrandt: Laban Leading Rachel or Leah (1635)
How odd our sacred book admits
We often don't know how to pray,
And yet, how wonderful, in Christ,
There are no magic words to say.
No special turn of phrase is key
To what's profound, unlocked within,
No need to speak at all, in fact,
No should or ought, no promised spin.
For God's the one who now conspires
For good with those whose love is prayer,
A company, a family
Whose glory is beyond compare.
The reason why, cannot be proved,
Explained in sermon or in poem,
Not words, but just the fact of love
Is how the One who counts is known.
Scott L. Barton
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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The cheat became the cheated,
In Laban he met his match;
To marry Laban's daughters off,
A daring plan was hatched;
When Jacob saw those lovely eyes,
He knew that he'd been had,
His eyes were opened to the truth:
"I'm not the only cad!"
I wonder if the "girls" were in on
Laban's crafty plan?
He says, "WE'LL give the other, too,
If you serve ME [the man]
Another set of seven years."
Thus, he whose mother pulled
The wool over his father's eyes
By women, too, was fooled!
Oh! What a pack of fools and foolers
Form this family tree!
Which goes to show the nature of
Behind the LORD who chose them all
As blessers and as blessed;
And holy fools today still know
By love they are possessed.
Scott L. Barton
Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?” Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were lovely, and Rachel was graceful and beautiful. Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.” So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her. Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.” So Laban gathered together all the people of the place, and made a feast. But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob; and he went in to her. (Laban gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her maid.) When morning came, 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?” Laban said, “This is not done in our country—giving the younger before the firstborn. Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.” Jacob did so, and completed her week; then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as a wife.