Friday 4 December, 2015

Genesis 31:19-42

19 Laban had gone to clip the wool from his sheep. While he was gone, Rachel stole the statues of the family gods that belonged to her father. 20 And that’s not all. Jacob tricked Laban, the Aramean. He didn’t tell him he was running away. 21 So Jacob ran off with everything he had. He crossed the Euphrates River. And he headed for the hill country of Gilead. 22 On the third day Laban was told that Jacob had run away. 23 He took his relatives with him and went after Jacob. Seven days later he caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead. 24 Then God came to Laban, the Aramean, in a dream at night. He said to him, “Be careful. Do not say anything to Jacob, whether it is good or bad.” 25 Jacob had set up his tent in the hill country of Gilead. That’s where Laban caught up with him. Laban and his relatives camped there too. 26 Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done? You have tricked me. You have taken my daughters away like prisoners of war. 27 Why did you run away in secret and trick me? Why didn’t you tell me? Then I could have sent you away happily. We could have sung to the music of tambourines and harps. 28 You didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters goodbye. You have done a foolish thing. 29 I have the power to harm you. But last night the God of your father spoke to me. He said, ‘Be careful. Do not say anything to Jacob, whether it is good or bad.’ 30 Now you have run away. You longed to go back to your father’s home. But why did you have to steal the statues of my gods?” 31 Jacob answered Laban, “I was afraid. I thought you would take your daughters away from me by force. 32 But if you find anyone who has the statues of your gods, that person will not remain alive. While our relatives are watching, look for yourself. See if there’s anything of yours here with me. If you find anything belonging to you, take it.” But Jacob didn’t know that Rachel had stolen the statues. 33 So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and Leah’s tent. He went into the tent of their two female servants. But he didn’t find anything. After he came out of Leah’s tent, he entered Rachel’s tent. 34 Rachel was the one who had taken the statues of Laban’s family gods. She had put them inside her camel’s saddle. She was sitting on them. Laban searched the whole tent. But he didn’t find anything. 35 Rachel said to her father, “I’m sorry, sir. I can’t get up for you right now. But don’t be angry with me. I’m having my monthly period.” So he searched everywhere but couldn’t find the statues of his gods. 36 Jacob was very angry with Laban. “What is my crime?” he asked. “What have I done to you that you hunt me down like this? 37 You have searched through all my things. What have you found that belongs to your family? Put it here in front of your relatives and mine. Let them decide between the two of us. 38 “I’ve been with you for 20 years now. The little ones of your sheep and goats were not dead when they were born. I haven’t eaten rams from your flocks. 39 I didn’t bring you animals torn apart by wild beasts. I made up for the loss myself. Also, you made me pay for anything stolen by day or night. 40 And what was my life like? The heat burned me in the daytime. And it was so cold at night that I froze. I couldn’t sleep. 41 That’s what it was like for the 20 years I was living with you. I worked for 14 years to marry your two daughters. I worked for six years to get my share of your flocks. You changed my pay ten times. 42 But the God of my father was with me. He is the God of Abraham and the God Isaac worshiped. If he hadn’t been with me, you would surely have sent me away without anything to show for all my work. But God has seen my hard times. He has seen all the work my hands have done. So last night he warned you.”

Here is a dysfunctional family driven by selfishness and covetousness.  There is theft, deception, abuse, dishonesty, lying and cheating.  However God is still in their midst.

God speaks to Isaac to leave Laban his father in law, he leaves secretly with God leading him.

He has become a wealthy and successful farmer.  He has worked hard to earn his wives and flocks. God has been with him throughout this time.

Laban has cheated Isaac and doesn’t seem worried about losing his family but ‘his gods’. If Laban followed a true God – He cannot be stolen.  God still speaks to this man – an unbeliever.

When we value wrongly what the ‘world’ offers – we become trapped in covetousness, envy and evil.

God wants us to learn how to serve Him, how to enjoy His blessings that He gives us, and how to do good in all the areas that He calls us into.

When selfishness rules our lives and hearts we feel ‘robbed’ in all that life offers and we look differently at what we do.

Lord help us to see you in all we do. Help us to serve you as we work, enjoy life’s pleasure and teach us to do good always. Please take from our hearts our selfishness, envy and greed.  Help us to be more like Jesus and be his hands, feet and mouthpiece as we work, rest, and play.

Written by Ps. Sue Botta

[comments section is closed]