Jacob decided that he had to get away from Laban because things were becoming a little bit more tense after Jacob essentially took a ton of his property.
Jacob called Rachel and Leah and told them that they were leaving, but on their way out, Rachel decided to steal her father’s idols.
On top of the obvious problem that she was stealing to begin with, her actions had even more serious repercussions.
Laban decided that he wanted to pursue Jacob. After all, his new family virtually disappeared with one of his most precious possessions.
When he finally caught up, he understandably had strong words for Jacob.
Gen 31:26 And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives taken with the sword?
Gen 31:27 Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp?
Gen 31:28 And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing.
Gen 31:29 It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt: but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.
Gen 31:30 And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father’s house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?
Laban wanted to know what Jacob had done with his idols, but Jacob had no idea that Rachel had taken them.
After Laban went through the entire camp and couldn’t find the idols, Jacob was obviously upset. He didn’t understand why he had to be subjected to this search since it was obvious that he hadn’t stolen them.
All of this came out because of deception again.
If Jacob would have been honest about leaving, and if Rachel had never stolen the idols, none of this would have happened.
I kind of feel like a broken record, but in this portion of the Bible, there are a ton of stories that illustrate the damage that deception can do. When people are not honest with one another, feelings are obviously hurt, and people are worse off because of it.
You might think that deception will get you ahead, but when it is eventually exposed, the damage is greater than the original benefit.
Genesis chapter 30 illustrates a rivalry as to who can bear more children. Rachel and Leah keep having children, and they seem to think that having more children have helped them become kind of the “best wife.”
Gen 30:8 And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali.
Gen 30:20 And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun.
Neither sister is innocent in this situation. They both want to end up with a favorable result, and they feel that the only way they can do that is by defeating the other one.
This is not how we are supposed to treat each other. We are supposed to treat each other with love and to understand that we should not be only worried about ourselves.
Php 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Php 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
This almost directly addresses what was talked about in Genesis. We shouldn’t do things just to get ahead. We should do things that help other people. We should not only think about our own interests. We should worry about what is best for everyone around us.
That is also somewhat difficult to do in our everyday lives.
For example, how easy is it for us to want to cut someone off in traffic because we need to get somewhere on time?
It seems rather insignificant, but if you think about it, we really should be thinking about everyone. We shouldn’t just think about achieving our own means. We shouldn’t put other people in danger by cutting them off.
I know that this sometimes happens accidentally, and of course this example is probably a little bit oversimplified.
However, at the most basic level, this passage in Genesis is showing two people who want to go the same place, and they are trying to climb over each other to achieve their goal.
As shown through the passage in Philippians, we are not supposed to act this way towards each other. We are supposed to view each other as more important than ourselves. We shouldn’t use other people as a means to an end, and we shouldn’t try to put people down in order to make ourselves look better.
This is a hard mission, but it is one that we need to work towards completing. Think about the impact that it would have on all of our interpersonal relations…
A lot of what we had known about Jacob so far involved trickery. Basically, he has spent his entire life tricking people for his own benefit.
At this point, we find that Jacob is the one being used. He agreed to work for Laban for seven years in order to marry his daughter Rachel.
However, when the seven years had finally passed, Laban deceived Jacob through a technicality.
Gen 29:25 And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?
Gen 29:26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.
Obviously, Laban probably should have told Jacob about this tradition ahead of time. It would have probably saved a lot of headaches.
However, Laban was able to tell Jacob that he would allow him to marry Rachel as well if he would promise to work seven more years.
Jacob did that, and he then developed another problem.
Gen 29:30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.
Gen 29:31 And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.
Leah ended up having a lot of children, and Rachel ended up having Joseph later which ended up causing a lot of other problems that I’m sure we will talk about later.
This whole web started through deception. Deception is definitely not a positive thing.
Think back to Garden of Eden. Sin entered the world through deception. Eve was tricked into thinking that becoming like God was worth deliberately disobeying God.
Given her initial resistance to trying the fruit, it was obvious that she wasn’t going to try it until the serpent started pushing her on.
Deception didn’t work out too well for Abraham or Isaac either. In each situation, the people they were trying to deceive ended up finding out that the ladies they claimed were their sisters were really their wives. As you can imagine, people weren’t too thrilled with them.
This is just one more evidence of how deception really doesn’t help anybody. Jacob was a deceiver when he was young, and that didn’t help anyone. Now, he was being deceived, and it still caused more harm than good.
Pro 11:3 The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.