26. PARENTS HAVE A DUTY TO HELP THEIR CHILDREN FIND GODLY MATES.
Genesis 24:2-4 - "So Abraham sent to the oldest servant of his house, who ruled over all that he had, 'Please, put your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac.'"
I realize our culture is different today than it was then regarding the selection of a mate, but truthfully, I think that parents should still be involved in this process. Ideally, parents should be training their children from the pre-teen years about what to look for in a mate, how to be a godly husband or wife, etc. That way, when the time comes, wise choices will hopefully be made. Abraham took this duty seriously and so should all parents.
27. "A FEW DAYS" CAN EASILY BECOME DECADES.
Genesis 27:44 - "And stay with him a few days, until your brother's fury turns away."
Jacob was instructed to leave for "a few days" but it turned into twenty years! I wonder how many people dabble in sin and tell themselves: "I'll just do this one time." And they end up enslaved to it! Jacob didn't intend to be away from home that long, but that's the way things worked out. The wise should take heed.
28. TRUE LOVE CAN MAKE HEAVY BURDENS LIGHT.
Genesis 29:20 - "So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her."
Working seven years in order to get married is a long time, but, as they say, "Time flies when you're having fun." The years just seemed like a few days to Jacob because of his love. And so it should be with us as Christians. When we really love the Lord, keeping His commandments will not be a burden but a joy (cf. I John 5:3).
29. ONE MAN WITH MORE THAN ONE WOMAN IS ALWAYS TROUBLESOME.
Genesis 30:1 - "Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister, and said to Jacob, 'Give me children, or else I die!'"
I remember the mining accident in South America a couple years back. One of the trapped miners was married yet he had a mistress (actually two mistresses!). His infidelity caused a lot of trouble and heartache. As a side note, no matter how carefully someone plans a wicked act (and marital infidelity is a wicked act), there are no guarantees you won't get caught. This man got stuck in a mine for two months and wasn't around to keep the deception going--but I digress. Jacob, son of Isaac, ended up with four wives essentially, and there were many problems (rivalry among the women and among their children). God's way is always best: one man and one woman for life (cf. I Kings 11:1ff)!
30. WORKING FOR FAMILY IS OFTEN TROUBLESOME.
Genesis 31:6,7 - "And you know that with all my might I have served your father. Yet your father has deceived me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not allow him to hurt me."
Laban did not treat Jacob the best (although Jacob's behavior toward Laban was not entirely above reproach either). The point here is that it can be very difficult working for family, even with the potential benefits. It's not impossible or always bad, but without clearly defined roles of authority and mutual respect and consideration, things can get nasty.