One statement Pastor Alex gave us in his sermon on marriage was that often when we are single and wish to be married, we look for “someone who will complete [us]”. When I look at the marriage relationship between Jacob and Rachel, this statement applied. Jacob loved Rachel, wanted her as his wife, and seemed to view her as the “the one who will complete me.”
Their marriage story is found in Genesis 28-35. Isaac and Rebekah had hoped to provide a good wife for Jacob, sending Jacob to his uncle, Rebekah’s brother, to find a wife. But her brother had deceived Jacob by giving him Leah instead of Rachel on their wedding night (Genesis 29:23).
Jacob was certainly aware of his parents’ faith and trust in God. But, for 20 years Jacob relied on himself, his own schemes and his own abilities to gain advantage, wealth, and wives.
Deception, trickery, lying and maneuvering to gain advantage were typical of Jacob’s relationships with his father, brother and father-in-law. Jacob had deceived Esau to get his blessing from their father (Genesis 27:18-29). Even Rachel deceived her father, by stealing the supposed blessing of his household gods and lying to her father about stealing them (Genesis 31:19, 35).
Rachel and Leah also operated this way with each other, especially in determining who would spend the night with their mutual husband Jacob (Genesis 30:13-16). Leah desired to be loved by Jacob (Genesis 29:32). Rachel desired to give Jacob children (Genesis 30:1). Rachel and Leah themselves acted out of jealousy of each other over Jacob. There is not much in these marriage relationships which reflects that “they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
Note that Jacob does not address God as his own God in this narrative until after he spent a night wrestling with God (Genesis 28:20-22 and Genesis 31:5-7). And because Jacob was quite fearful of encountering Esau – whom he had deceived — Jacob prayed to God. He asked for protection as he wrestled with God all night (when God changed his name to Israel). God used Jacob (the deceiver) to build his nation of Israel through Leah, Rachel, Bilhah, and Zilpah, who gave Jacob 12 sons who became the 12 tribes of Israel. However it was Leah (the unloved one) the mother of Judah from whom came King David, Solomon and the Messiah, Jesus.
We don’t need to look for another human being to complete us. Instead we need to pray, read God’s word, and ask Him to complete us. God is the only one who sees the whole picture, who can form us into the complete person He already sees.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3-6 NIV’