What does patience look like for a man?
The short answer to that is, patience looks like a woman. I can see how this looks like the typical stereotype approach, but let us examine a man who by any means is a “real big man” as we say it in my part of the world. This is a man who became the father of an entire nation through which the Messiah came. We are deeply indebted to him as a result.
Set in the Early Days of the Jewish Nation
This story on patience or longsuffering, a better description of what happened, was set in the early days of the Jewish nation just at its expansion. It is the story of Jacob and Rachel. Oh what an epic story. I just read it in the Message translation of the Bible and it outshines any modern day soap opera. There are so many plots and subplots that even though I have read it before I found it intriguing. Genesis 29 is where we will pick up the story.
There was Jacob, one part of a twin, running away from his brother, Essau, because along with his mother, Rebecca, he cheated him out of his birthright as the first born. (Essau came out first thus first born – come on keep up will you?). The scripture said there were two nations battling it out in Rebecca’s womb. Although Essau won the battle of coming out first there was Jacob right behind clutching the heel of his brother. Not a good sign at all, from the very beginning.
So let us get back to the point where Jacob was running away. Mom, partner to the crime, told him to go into a far away land where her family, his uncle lives and hide out for a while till his brother calm down. I mean they were like in their forties when the deceit took place. Papa Isaac was blind and old, about to go to be with his father Abraham. So Jacob’s first encounter with the beautiful Rachel saw him gaining superman strength. The things Love for a woman can make you do.
Plot and Subplots Thicken
There he was at the well where shepherds water their flocks and upon enquiring why they were not watering, one told him that the stone was too big so all the shepherds needed to come together to roll it from the mouth of the well for them to gain access. However, upon seeing Rachel (the shepherds told him who she was), coming to water her father’s ( his mother’s brother’s) sheep he ran and rolled away the stone and kissed her (of course in greeting as was the custom back then). He told her who he was. She ran and told her father who ran to come and welcome him to stay with them just as his sister had wanted. Sounds great? Well, the plot and subplots thicken from right there.
I can imagine the conversation in an Italian accent – Laban: Hey nephew, don’t think you are going to work for me for free around here, Name your wages.
Jacob: Well uncle, I sort of really dig your daughter Rachel, you know. [it was ok back then to marry your cousin, no judgment ok?] – What say I work for seven years for her and at the end you give her to me as my wife.
Laban: Sounds like a great deal to me. Let us seal it. (spat in each other hand and shook on it – wait – wrong movie – scrap that).
Imagine that Level of Patience
They sealed the deal and it looked like a gentleman’s agreement right? Wrong! After a whole seven years of waiting for his bride, his uncle threw a big wedding feast, and on the wedding night when the honeymoon started and the consummation of the marriage was to take place. What did Laban do? He sent Leah his eldest daughter to the bed of Jacob and in the morning he got the fair eyed one and not the exceptionally beautiful Rachel. How devastating – after seven long years of patiently waiting? Hey, that was 84 months or 365 weeks, or 2555 days, 61, 320 hours or 367, 200 minutes. Imagine that level of patience! Then to be told that upon confronting his uncle, that this is the way we do it in our neck of the woods – we marry the older daughter first? What? He did not sign up for this!
Agreed to Work Another Seven Years
Now if that was patience or longsuffering. He agreed to work another seven (7) years if he wanted to get Rachel as his wife (not after 14 years but after the honeymoon) – Poor Rachel – she never got a real wedding did she? So he agreed for another 7 years – I won’t do the maths for that just double what was above and you get the picture. This is patience.
I highly recommend reading this story in the Message Bible. Get your popcorn, call the family together and in this Advent season, sit and read this story starting at Genesis 27 and you may not want to stop for a while passing through Genesis 31 because you will want to know what happened, does he meet his brother Essau? How was that encounter?
Anyway. Read it man! It is so good!
Drama of the Centuries
There are so many things to learn from this as men or just as people in general. Apart from the obvious lesson that you do reap what you sow. Jacob was a trickster and he was played by his own uncle who he double played and you got to read the story in the Message Bible – Drama of the centuries. No wonder in the movie version of Esther, she read the Love story of Jacob to the king of Persia (I don’t even want to write his name which I cannot pronounce) and woo him with it.
Patience has Its Rewards
There is a deeper lesson however, namely, that patience has within it specific rewards that can be life altering. One may look at the surface of things and think that Jacob’s patience ended with the reward of his receiving his bride Rachel, Love of his life, but there is a greater reward. The Love child Joseph had to be born. So in Genesis 30: 22-24 God remembered Rachel and she conceived and bore a son, Joseph – meaning (Add) because she said – “God has taken away my humiliation” – because she was barren up until that point. The Love of Jacob’s life was barren for many years in the marriage. So more need for patience. But patience has its reward.
This was no ordinary child either. So powerful was the birth of this child that it changed Jacob’s perspective in life. There was so much riding on the birth of this child Joseph, that Jacob said (as I imagined it) “We can’t stay here anymore. This one has to be grown up in my home land because he will be impacting the nations.” So he got up and tried to leave Laban after doubling crossing him (sorry but – God sort of helped him) another time (Go read the story with your popcorn and all.Gen. 30). Joseph was like the child of promise. Of all his brothers – he was the one untouched by the conniving, trickery that defined the family (He did trick his brothers in Egypt but that scarcely counted since he came clean soon after.)
An Upright Young Man
Here was an upright young man from the very beginning – no wonder Jacob had to change his way of life after this child was born. He Loved Joseph more than the rest, not a good thing for a father to do but face it, the rest of the children were sort of forced upon him. His true bride was Rachel. Just to clear up something for all you men who keep using Jacob as a case in point for polygomy. He wanted one wife like his father Isaac had his Rebecca, he wanted his Rachel. Then stuff happened and he ended up with two wives who gave him their servants as wives. It was not a part of the seven year plan. However, God knew He needed twelve tribes so He orchestrated it and was in on it all the way. He is God right? So He can do anything.
Look at the character of the Love child. Joseph is one of the Bible characters that is Christlike. He Loved God beyond measure and went through real hardships but held on to God. He was a study in patience just like his father Jacob just like his and our Father Yahweh. How much patience God shows us daily – Oh He Loves us! How He takes His time with us even when we just hurt him with our actions of disobedience. He is patient with us.
Jacob was never the same again after the birth of Joseph. The reward from patience will change us forever. So whatever you are going through in your life at the moment. Be patient, trust God in it and anticipate the Love child from that process coming to change your life for the better, forever. James 1: 2-4 says…
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces [a]patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be [b]perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Work the Work of Patience
Gentlemen, patience is a part of the fruit of the Spirit. Once you know Jesus as Saviour, then the Holy Spirit lives in you and so does His fruit. So you already have patience but James wants us to work the work of patience by letting “… patience have its perfect work, that you may be [b]perfect and complete, lacking nothing. “
Botsio is a Christian lecturer, an e-learning administrator, a poet, and a freelance writer.