Sunday, 25th October 10.30 am Order of Service

WELCOME

HYMN Lord Jesus, think on me

1 Lord Jesus, think on me,

and purge away my sin;

from earthborn passions set me free,

and make me pure within.

2 Lord Jesus, think on me,

with care and woe opprest;

let me thy loving servant be,

and taste thy promised rest.

3 Lord Jesus, think on me,

amid the battle’s strife;

in all my pain and misery

be thou my health and life.

4 Lord Jesus, think on me,

nor let me go astray;

through darkness and perplexity

point thou the heavenly way.

5 Lord Jesus, think on me,

when flows the tempest high:

when on doth rush the enemy

O Saviour, be thou nigh.

6 Lord Jesus, think on me,

that when the flood is past,

I may the eternal brightness see,

and share thy joy at last.

PRAYER

READING – GENESIS 29:14-30

14 Then Laban said to him, “You are my own flesh and blood.”

Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel

After Jacob had stayed with him for a whole month, 15 Laban said to him, “Just because you are a relative of mine, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be.”

16 Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah had weak[a] eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful. 18 Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, “I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel.”

19 Laban said, “It’s better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with me.” 20 So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.

21 Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife. My time is completed, and I want to make love to her.”

22 So Laban brought together all the people of the place and gave a feast. 23 But when evening came, he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and Jacob made love to her. 24 And Laban gave his servant Zilpah to his daughter as her attendant.

25 When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?”

26 Laban replied, “It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one. 27 Finish this daughter’s bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work.”

28 And Jacob did so. He finished the week with Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. 29 Laban gave his servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her attendant. 30 Jacob made love to Rachel also, and his love for Rachel was greater than his love for Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years.

SERMON – We Reap what we Sow

Jacob is being prepared for servant leadership. He left home as Jacob and will return as Israel.

GAL 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

In Gen 27 2 brothers were exchanged by a trick. The blind father was tricked.

Here in Gen 29 two sisters are exchanged by a trick. In this case Jacob was perhaps blinded by the night or by the demon alcohol.

Yet, God is working His purpose out – from this “wrong” wife, Leah, will come Judah, David, Jesus Christ.

Jacob has shown himself to be very like Laban – cunning, deceptive, heartless, greedy, ambitious, yet Jacob also has faith in God – he is shown here as capable of romantic love and hard work.

Leah and Rachel mean “cow” and “ewe” – possibly acceptable names in a shepherding family – but their father treated them as animals and economic property.

GAL 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Be sure your sins will find you out! They certainly did in Jacob’s case. But this period of hard labour, or service, was just what the Lord ordered. This was the crucible which would shape wild Jacob into the father of the 12 tribes of Israel.

What are we to learn from another web of lies, deceit and intrigue?

We could learn about the importance of living and telling the truth. We could learn that sins have consequences. We could learn to be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves in our dealings with people.

But these miss the central point – namely that God is working His purpose out …

PRAYER

Hymn Jesus, we are far

1 Jesus, we are far away

From the light of heavenly day;

Lost in paths of sin we stray:

Lord, in mercy hear us.

2 Help us to bewail our sin,

And, in heavenly strength, begin

Daily victories to win:

Lord, in mercy hear us.

3 Keep us lowly, that we may,

Ever watchful, turn away

From the snares our tempters lay:

Lord, in mercy hear us.

4 On our darkness shed Thy light;

Lead our wills to what is right;

Wash our evil nature white:

Lord, in mercy hear us.

5 May Thy wisdom be our guide,

Comfort, rest, and peace provide

Near to Thy protecting side:

Lord, in mercy hear us.

6 Fix our hearts on things on high;

Let no evil thoughts come nigh;

Purge from sin our memory:

Lord, in mercy hear us.

7 May Thy grace within the soul

Nature’s waywardness control,

Guiding towards the heavenly goal:

Lord, in mercy hear us.

Thomas B Pollock (1836–1896)

Benediction

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