I love that when I read the Bible, God causes me to see things I didn’t notice the last fifty times I read the same passage. This time He caused me to notice a few things about Jacob in his dealings with his father-in-law, Laban.
First, Jacob learned what it was like to be on the receiving end of deception. He had swindled his brother Esau out of his birthright and his blessing. Laban was his even change when he did the big switch with Leah for her sister Rachel (Genesis 29:21-30). He could have given Rachel and not required the additional seven years since Jacob wasn’t working to get Leah in the first place, but Laban was an opportunist. I wonder if Jacob wondered if Esau felt the same way when he did him dirty. Funny how our sensitivities heighten where they once were dull when we find ourselves on the receiving end of the very thing we did to someone else. It’s a humbling experience. Jesus was pretty smart to tell us to treat others the way we want to be treated, huh (Matthew 7:12)?
Another thing that stood out was how Jacob kept mentioning that Laban had changed his wages ten times (Genesis 31:7,41). It seems he high-lighted that point every time Laban got on his nerves. Bitterness is like that: it keeps detailed records of wrongs.
I am not saying Jacob didn’t have a right to be angry. It is obvious he was sick and tired of being messed over. I don’t blame him. Getting sick and tired can be a gift from God. It can give us the courage to do what we’ve been needing to do but were too afraid.
I love that God blessed Jacob’s need to move on (Genesis 31:3) God had a covenant to fulfill in Jacob’s life. He had bigger plans for him than making Laban rich. So often we use the “not God’s will” thing as an excuse not to take that big scary step when it actually is God’s will. I know I have used it. Have you? We want everything to be perfect before we step out, but that is not the life of faith. That’s also not where the excitement and testimony of God’s faithfulness abide. God’s faithfulness loves to hang out between Pharaoh’s army and the Red Sea… between “Leave your familiar spot,” and, “I will let you know when you get there.” Perhaps in one of these blogs, I will share some of my adventures with God in those very spots. I would love to hear yours too!