Left and right

Abraham. Isaac. Jacob. This is the beginning of Jesus’ lineage. Jacob’s journey is both fascinating and reassuring. As a broad treatment, here’s Jacob’s story. His father preferred his brother. He was a momma’s boy. He cheated his brother from his father’s blessing. He ran away. He idolized a beautiful woman and mistreated another. God used him anyway!

In Genesis 29:16-20, we are introduced to Jacob’s two wives: Leah and Rachel. Verses 16-18 say (Laban is Jacob’s uncle):

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

It occurred to me that Rachel starts with R and Leah starts with L. This reminded me of right (R) and left (L). In Jacob’s time, the right hand indicated the preferred (favored or more important) position, while the left was the lesser position (or, even worse, unacceptable). I wonder if this is a coincidence… I’ll bet it’s not.

As you read scripture, practice asking these type of questions. Put yourself in the story. Meditate on the word and see what God reveals about the life he intends for you!




About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
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