Jacob the cheater has to flee to keep from being killed by his brother for stealing Esau’s blessing. While God continues to work out what he wants in Jacob’s life, it is apparent that it isn’t coming about in the easiest ways. I’m sure the Lord meant for Jacob to go to Paddan-aram, marry Leah, and have Judah as one of his sons so that the Lord would bring Jesus from his tribe. However, it didn’t come about in a straight forward manner. I’m sure this was what the Lord wanted because Isaac sent him with the blessing of Abraham (Gen 27:4). While the birthright and the patriarchal blessings may have been important, this blessing was more important. Indeed, the Lord confirmed that blessing to him in his dream at Bethel (Gen 28:13-15).
At this point, Jacob now begins his relationship with the Lord. He starts off just like many of us do, with little knowledge but zeal. He makes a vow to the Lord to give him a tenth of whatever wealth God will give him – and here comes the conniver mentality – if the Lord will take care of him (Gen 28:20-22). In spite of Jacob’s misplaced attempt to manipulate the Lord, he is blessed.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t ask the Lord about anything he does for quite some time. He operates on his feeling and his lust as he falls for Rachel instead of Leah. Laban is just a much of a cheat as Jacob, as he switches Leah and thus ensures that the Messiah comes from Jacob’s first wife, though Laban was most likely unaware of the Lord’s plan. So, the cheater gets cheated, but God’s plan stands and Judah is born to Leah long before Rachel has any children.
When it comes to rewarding Jacob and the Lord fulfilling his promise to prosper him, the characters in God’s plan are not living according to his plans but he uses them anyway. We have to respect that the Lord gave Jacob a remedial lesson in genetics when he told him that the animals that were not completely white would outnumber the white ones (Gen 31:11-12). Yet, Jacob turned to a superstition to help God along with the breeding process (Gen 30:37-39).
We have a choice in all of our actions to honor the Lord with godly character and living. When we don’t, God still works good out of it. It just takes longer for us to become the people he wants us to be. God isn’t surprised when we sin and don’t cooperate with his plan, but it would be easier if we learned from the Bible instead of following our own lusts, desires, way of the world, and even superstitions.