Friday, January 7, 2011

Genesis 31:36-42 Jacob Unloads on Laban

After Laban's unsuccessful search of Jacob's family's tents, it is now Jacob's turn to unload.  Twenty years of frustration come out in one long blast.  I assume that Laban's relatives are still standing nearby, or at least that they would be able to hear Jacob's indignant outburst:

"...'What is my crime?' he asked Laban.  'What sin have I committed that you hunt me down?  Now that you have searched through all my goods, what have you found that belongs to your household?  Put it here in front of your relatives and mine, and let them judge between the two of us.
     I have been with you for twenty years now.  Your sheep and goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten rams from your flocks.  I did not bring you animals torn by wild beasts; I bore the loss myself.  And you demanded payment from me for whatever was stolen by day or night.  This was my situation:  the heat consumed me in the daytime and the cold at night, and sleep fled from my eyes.  It was like this for the twenty years I was in your household.  I worked for you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks, and you changed my wages ten times.  If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you would surely have sent me away empty-handed.  But God has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands, and last night he rebuked you."  (Genesis 31:36-42 NIV)

Notice that Jacob still refers to God as "the God of my father."  His personal relationship with God is still in its infancy.  We will see it take a great leap forward in Genesis chapter 32.  Right now, though, I am glad to see that Jacob at least gives God the credit for the positive outcome of this situation with Laban.

Note:  I came across this great article/sermon while researching this passage.  It is called  "Living With Integrity"  (Genesis 30-31) and is by Rev. Bruce Goettche and dated 9/19/99.  At the beginning of the New Year this article is a good way to assess our own integrity.  It also speaks of trusting that God  is still at work in situations where the way people are treating us seems unjust.  I do not know anything about Rev. Goettsche, but this is an interesting and thought-provoking article.

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