Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Humanity in Sin Part 38 - Jacob and Laban Parted

This is my personal summary of the preaching of Rev.Dr.Stephen Tong on 9th December 2007 in Newton Life. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.
Passage: Genesis 31

Within this incident, everyone considered themselves as victim. This is a difficult problem in society. Since the Fall, we all become self-centered. We want to make use of other people and are very sensitive to our own losses. Employers are afraid that employees will take advantage of them. Employees are afraid of being exploited by employers. When everyone thinks he is a victim, problems cannot be solved.

Laban did not think that he had cheated Jacob but simply felt that Jacob had good deal since he had given his daughters to Jacob. Capitalists feel they are great because they create employment for many workers. But workers feel that it is to their credit that their employers become rich.

When the time comes, God might allow separation and we will see clearly who truly has the blessings from God. God instructed Jacob to leave, but could he leave with his wives and children? Jacob had married Laban’s daughters, and his children are Laban’s grandchildren, so whose were they? Laban’s or Jacob’s? According to biblical teaching, after marriage a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife and has a new family.

God once spoke to Abraham to leave his hometown to go to the promised land. Now God spoke to Abraham’s grandson to leave. Leah and Rachel were willing to leave with Jacob as they saw their father had sold them and exploited Jacob. Much of the wealth Laban obtained deceitfully were things God had reserved for Jacob. This passage tells us that God had seen what Laban did to Jacob.

Some people work a lot, do not care about credit. Some work a little and want recognition. Still some never do anything but want all the credit. All these tell us a person’s spirituality.

If the things meant for you are taken away by others, God will take them all and give it back to you. So we do not need to overreact when badly treated. Conversely, if it is not God’s blessings for us, no matter how hard we fight, we will lose them in the end. When we think we have gained something, we might not have gained it. When we think we have lost something, we might not have lost it. The important thing is God’s blessing.

In this case, Laban seemed to get richer and richer. But he never thought that his wealth increased because of Jacob. Jacob came up with an idea to separate his sheep and Laban’s sheep. And God kept prospering Jacob no matter how the deal was changed. It became clear that God’s blessings are with Jacob.

At the time when Laban’s sons started complaining about Jacob, God commanded Jacob to leave. So Jacob left because of God’s instruction. We should learn not to base our decisions merely on profit and loss and self-centered attitude. But we should let the principles of His truth and His guidance to direct our path.

When Jacob fled, Laban chased after him. Here Laban had to acknowledge he prospered because of Jacob. It ended with a covenant between Laban and Jacob, and they went their own way after that. This departure was permanent. Jacob never came back after that. From the passage, we see the nature and complexity of humanity displayed. The Scripture illuminates us on the errors and mystery of humanity.


At 11:28 PM, Blogger Kaiye Goh said...

You said 'we should let the principles of His truth and His guidance to direct our path'.

Faith is a difficult thing to practice. To follow God's will often meant denying our human logic and reason, and that is a hard thing to do. But I do agree with you.


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