Friday, June 12, 2015

God Goes Before

Dear Christa—
God Goes Before
Sometimes—even now, after all these years of living in the West—I get the urge to go home. Have you ever just wanted to go home? Twenty years is a long time to be away. Jacob had been blessed in Paddan Aram. He’d also had his fill of Laban and his sons. Surely, he missed his mother and father. He’d probably gained some appreciation for his father Isaac. He probably wanted his parents to see their grandchildren—especially that favorite—Joseph and for them to meet Rachel. But, the true encouragement was when God sent His angel to remind him that He’d done everything He’ promised Jacob at Bethel and that at long last it was time to go home. And so, he did.
Laban, eventually—after 3 days—heard of it and took after this rebellious son-in-law that he couldn’t seem to manipulate to his advantage no matter how he dealt with him.
But, God goes before—before Jacob and before Laban who eventually catches up to him.
God, Himself, warned Laban in a dream, and even though there isn’t any indication that Laban worshiped God, he wasn’t foolish enough to disregard Him either.
So, even though the parting between Laban and Jacob might not have been loving, it was somewhat civil. Of course, there is that incident of the household gods that Rachel had stolen and Laban pilfering through all Jacob’s tents. But, nevertheless, God protected Jacob just as he said He would. And, Jacob surely lay awake in his tent as Laban and his sons departed and turned his thoughts away from Paddan Aram with a sigh.
God had shown Himself true to this point. But, Jacob surely wondered what lay ahead for him. Perhaps his thoughts drifts away from Laban and his sons to his father, his mother, his brother.
Esau—surely Esau gave him pause even 20 years later.
What about this God of his father Isaac and his grandfather Abraham?
What about the God of our fathers?
—the parishioner who doesn’t do anything

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Let the Games Begin

From Genesis to Now
Laban vs. Jacob: Let the Games Begin
Dear Christa—
“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” I think the first time I remember hearing that old adage, or at least when I took notice of it, was in an Anne of Green Gables movie. The point being that Anne was falling into the same pattern of pride that had robbed Morella of the love in her past.
If ever there was an example of a family characteristic being passed from generation to generation it’s revealed in Rebecca’s family. Deception is connected to so many family members that you can’t really miss it.
Here in the second half of Gen 30, there’s a stand off between two manipulators—Laban and Jacob—and they are each doing what they tend to do—getting what they want through trickery.
Jacob has been far from home and family for many years now. Nothing is mentioned about any connection between him and his parents. Maybe in those days people left and were never heard from again. I don’t know. But, sometime after Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob gets restless and wants to go home. After at least 14 years Jacob is probably thinking his parents are old, that he wants them to see Joseph (the favored child), and surely Esau doesn’t seem as scary as he once least not yet.
God may have blessed Laban through Jacob, but Jacob through Laban had acquired two wives, two concubines, which had given him a significantly large family.
So, as Laban and Jacob discuss their terms, the parleying begins—not unlike the circling of two wrestlers sizing up their opponents—searching out the other’s weak spot and strengths. Only Jacob has a trick in his pocket that neither one of them recognizes at the moment.
the parishioner who doesn’t do anything