can be lonely.

Genesis 29:21-30 (ESV)

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 female servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her servant.) 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?” Laban said, “It is not so done in our country, to give 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 to be his wife. (Laban gave his female servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her servant.) So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served Laban for another seven years.

This sounds like the perfect payback lesson in justice; Jacob gets burned by the same trick he played on his father.

But something more important happens here. Leah’s heart is crushed.

Just imagine how she must feel. Something is wrong with her eyes and it makes her less than beautiful in form and appearance. Jacob shows up and, to no one’s surprise, isn’t interested in her but is totally smitten with her little sister, who is beautiful in form and appearance.

So Leah plays along with Laban’s plot to trick Jacob into marrying her. It’s too dark and/or he’s too drunk to notice. That qualifies as success in this dreadful scheme of things.

Then morning comes.

Oh how Leah must have hoped and prayed that Jacob would have a reasonable reaction to finding her next to him. Instead, he’s angry and dashes off to confront Laban, leaving Leah alone to cry.

Great lessons will come from this.

We all have pain in our lives, but sometimes people get a boatload dumped on them. That’s when friends need to step up.

Pain is lonely. Friends can make that worse by worrying too much about what to say, and avoiding doing anything. Fine, pray and then visit. It’s your presence that’ll be comforting, not your words.

Be serious about the agenda; what are their specific requests? Be serious about the prayer; take enough time that you get a sense of the Lord’s direction. Be serious about following up; call them and get updates.

Even an email is good.

The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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