Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 32:9-12

9 And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the Lord which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: 

10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.

11 Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.

12 And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.

What a sincere and vulnerable prayer Jacob utters here. Right in verse ten he states that he isn’t “worthy of the least of the mercies” of God. He’s had his flaws and he’s made his mistakes, and he’s already been more cared for than he had any right to be. And yet, Jacob still has reason to hope that even more goodness awaits him, because God made a promise He would deal well with Jacob, and God is one who follows through on his promises.

And this is a very far cry from what most of the philosophies of the world tells us. The world tells us that we will prevail so far as we, ourselves, are great and worthy. The world tells us that karma only recompenses us for what we have earned. The world tells us that we get just what we deserve.

But Jacob sees something different. In these verses he is expressing a sentiment that has been echoing throughout Christendom for millennia since, an incredibly bold notion that we do not receive because we are worthy, but because He is. We do not prevail because of our own strength, but because of His. We are not blessed based on what we have earned, but on what our Savior has earned for us. The true believer knows that life isn’t fair…it is far, far better.

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 31:30, 32-35

30 And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father’s house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?

32 With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them.

33 And Laban went into Jacob’s tent, and into Leah’s tent, and into the two maidservants’ tents; but he found them not. Then went he out of Leah’s tent, and entered into Rachel’s tent.

34 Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel’s furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not.

35 And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me. And he searched, but found not the images.

Laban demanded why Jacob had stolen his idols, which Jacob obviously denied. His pledge to put to death anyone who stole the idols seems a very bold oath to make. Obviously, Jacob knew that he had not taken them, I wonder what made him so mistakenly sure that no one in his household did either. Who knows how they would have resolved things if Rachel had been discovered as the culprit.

As for her sake, Rachel adds lying to her theft. I do not mean this as an excuse for her deceitful practices, but it is worth noting that Laban was also a deceitful father. After Jacob completed his first seven years of service, she had been robbed of her intended wedding by Laban’s lies, and now she is robbing him of his gods with hers. Two wrongs do not make a right, but it is a fact of life that the wrong things we do set an example to others that are usually used against us later on. Though it may be indirect and years in the making, we are often the authors of our own harm.

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 29:22-23, 25-26

22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.

23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her.

25 And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?

26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.

Thus far in the story Laban has treated Jacob with dignity and respect. It is interesting, then, to see this deceptive turn from him. Tricking a man into marrying a woman he did not intend is a very egregious offense. The explanation that Laban gives, that in their country the first daughter must be married before the second, in no way accounts for the fact that he did not tell this to Jacob beforehand. One would assume that he knew he would play this trick on Jacob all the seven years that his nephew labored for him, making him a liar for all of those 2,500 days!

However, I cannot help but see this as a sort of karma balancing out in Jacob’s life. He had deceived his own father and stolen the place of honor from his brother. He had done this by pretending to be someone that he was not, and now he gets to be on the receiving end of a very similar trick. Life has a way of holding up a mirror to each of us, causing us to collect the same sort of payment we have given out.

Better for Jacob to balance the cosmic scales here and now, and be clear for the rest of his life. And, as it would turn out, Leah was to become a key part of his growing heritage. So even this setback was ultimately meant for his own good.

Sow and Then Reap- Summary

This was a smaller study, and kind of an offshoot from my previous one. That is the beauty of pursuing answers, one tends to find even more questions along the way. There is no shortage of truths to discover, and it is beautiful to see how they all combine into one whole and support and expand upon one another.
Also these truths can be found anywhere, and they can especially be found in nature, as in the case of this study. God has designed the basic pattern of our human survival so that it clearly teaches lessons of patience, faith, and reward.

Reaping What You Sow Can Be Either a Blessing or a Curse

There is a common pattern noted in many different cultures and spiritual teachings. Karma, what goes around comes around, get what you deserve, etc. Though in the moment life may indeed be unfair, over time things do tend to balance out.
This truth is a great condemnation to the wicked and a great liberator to the innocent. While some are crushed by its momentum, others are wise enough to use it to their advantage. Be patient and persevering in doing good, and soon enough nature itself will work for your triumph!
Galatians 6:7- Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Matthew 7:2- For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged.

Cultivating a Soul Takes a Season

Nothing good comes easy. In other words, the measure of a thing’s value can often be found in the difficulty by which it was obtained. By that standard the purification of the soul must be the most precious treasure of them all!
Achieving this position is so difficult, in fact, that only God can do it for us. Not a single one of us can purify our own selves, we simply do not have the power to do it. What we do have the power to do, though, is stop God from cleansing us. He loves us too much to force any blessings on us that we don’t want. The more I interact with God the more I realize that all He needs from me is to stop shutting Him out and then He’ll take care of the rest.
Simple as that may sound, it takes everything I have to manage it. It takes constant effort. Every day I have to diligently water my “love of self,” I have to weed out any “feeling unworthy of forgiveness,” and I must carefully prune any “harmful exercises of free will.” I have to be diligent, and I have to do it for as long as this mortal field is mine. If I am faithful, though, God will make my garden grow.
2 Nephi 25:23- For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

We Are All Workers in the Field

As difficult as it may be to just work our own field, if that is all we do then we have not met our calling. We are meant to work in the fields of others as well. In fact, our own cultivation of the soul cannot ever be completed without the cultivation of other’s.
We are kindred spirits, and our fates are entwined. The Savior gave a clear warning that we were not to “hide our light under a bushel,” nor were we to “bury our talent.” Our injunction is to “Let [our] light so shine before men,” (Matthew 5:16). To be born of Christ is to be called to the work.
We are nearing the final harvest and there is still a great deal of reaping to be done. There is sufficient rest for all of us at the end of the season, for now we must lean into this work with all that we have.
Matthew 9:37-38- Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.