Within the pantheon of wretchedly preached Joel Osteen sermons, one has caught our attention, in which he claims that the reason Jacob didn’t know he was having sex with Leah instead of Rachel is on account of him being too drunk to tell the difference.
Joel has kept a fairly low profile these past few months, and was the last prominently seen marching in a Black Lives Matter rally in Houston over the summer and marketing his “Inspiration Cube”. Osteen exemplifies low-hanging fruit, in that the man couldn’t tell you what the gospel is if his life depended on it.
Rather, the “good news” that he brings is that “God loves you and wants to save you from a life of mediocrity and small dreams. Therefore, if you believe in ‘God’ and be obedient to him, God will give you a plan for your life that includes big dreams, self-esteem, favor, health and wealth, influence, a better job, a positive self-image and a fulfilled life free of negativity.” That’s it. That’s what it’s all about. That is the sum of just about every book, every sermon, every media appearance, and every tweet of Joel Osteen, condensed into a few sentences.
There is something very important to understand about Joel Osteen: He does talk about God. A lot. You cannot accuse the man of not mentioning him because he’s all over that. Here’s the thing though—It’s never really in a personal sense. Joel talks about God, but it’s always in a vague amorphous sense. There is certainly nothing distinctly Christian or Biblical about it. There’s nothing doctrinal or theological about the way he talks about God. Rather is an ethereal, shapeless, formless, customizable, singular being thing that is out there called God that functions like a cosmic vending machine whose sole purpose is seemingly to bless you and make your life better. Even when he mentions God, it’s not ABOUT God, but it’s about what God can do for YOU.
It is no wonder he plays so fast and loose with the scriptures, molesting them with his permanently plastered-on grin, taking the story of Israel and transforming into some debaucherous narrative that the scriptures never say.
Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.” So Laban gathered together all the people of the place and made a feast. But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he went in to her. (Laban gave his female servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her servant.) And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?” (Genesis 29:21-25 ESV)
Jacob worked those seven years being his best. He didn’t just pass the time, he excelled. Because of Jacob, Laban became very wealthy. His flocks multiplied many times over.
Seven years finally came and Jacob was so excited. In those days at the wedding the bride wore a very thick veil—you couldn’t see who was in there. After the big celebration, with partying and dancing, I can imagine Jacob went to bed that night with a little too much to drink.
The next morning when he woke up, he leaned over to kiss his new bride. But it wasn’t Rachel it was her sister Leah. Jacob nearly passed out. [According to Osteen]
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