Praise the Lord for bringing up out of the weekend into the start of the work week. I am sure that you have a nice time attending church and doing other things that benefited you and your family. My brothers and sisters in Christ let us look ahead to this new day and thank God for all His favours. I want to read chapter 31 of the Book of Genesis and we are looking at the sacrifice of God.
Have you ever experienced a promise of promotion that never came, or spent countless wasted hours working late to complete some thankless task? Have you ever been the victim of envy, false accusation or downright deception? Promise, promise and more promise. Yes we all have been promised things in life and never received them. Promotions on the job, in church or things for Christmas. Watch a time, and some people pay to receive spiritual gifts and cannot function under the circumstances. Gifts and visions are two different things. We can have a discussion on that another time.
So much in this passage resonates with our day-to-day lives. In our everyday situations of frustration and pain, it is reassuring to know that the Lord always has the last word. In this passage we see a breakdown in what was essentially a family business. Perhaps Laban took his son-in-law for granted. Certainly Jacob felt his good will had been abused. He felt Laban’s ‘attitude to him was not what it had been’ (verse 2). He had given his job 100 per cent effort – he had worked with all his strength: ‘And he know that with all my power I have served your father’ (verse 6).
Jacob’s terms of employment had been very tough. His father-in-law had been a fairly draconian boss. He had made Jacob pay for any loss that occurred due to accident or theft by others (verse 39). His working conditions were very unsatisfactory (verse 40).
Further, he felt cheated. Instead of putting his salary up, Laban appears to have put it down ten times “And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times: but God suffered him not to hurt me.” (verse 7). Rachel and Leah also felt they had been hard done by. They had been sold off to Jacob and then watched as their father envied their husband’s success. “And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion of inheritance for us in our father’s house. Are we not counted of him strangers? For he hath sold us, and hath quite also devoured our money. Foe all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children’s: now then, what God hath said unto thee, do.” (verses 14–16).
It is understandable that Rachel and Leah felt resentment towards Laban. However, their response was not very gracious. They all ran off when Laban was out at work. They did not give him the opportunity to say goodbye to his children and grandchildren. “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”. “And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? Thou has now done foolishly in so doing.” (verses 26,28). On top of all that, for some incomprehensible reason, Rachel steals from her father without telling her husband. What have you done in this day that has caused a spiritual outlook. Have you left a trail behind and how are you going to justify it in the eyes of others.
In spite of all this, God blesses Jacob: ‘But God did not allow [Laban] to hurt me’ (verse 7). He becomes more prosperous than Laban. It was actually God who had called Jacob to return home to Isaac and promised him ‘And the Lord said unto Jacob, return unto the lands of thy fathers,and to thy kindred; and I will be with you’ (verse 3). Although Jacob was doing the right thing, the way it was done was not right. Hallelujah Nevertheless, God intervened on his behalf by speaking to Laban in a dream (verse 24). But for that, Jacob might have been sent away empty-handed (verse 42).
In the end, they negotiate a satisfactory settlement. In the midst of this passage we see hints of the foreshadowing of what was to come. Both Jacob and Laban look to God for justice. “The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac.” (verse 53). Then there is sacrifice “Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount and called his brethren to eat bread, and tarried all night in the mount.” (verse 54).
As they seek God’s justice and offer this sacrifice, we are reminded once more of the cross, where God’s justice and mercy come together. Where you and I can come together in peace and love. Where we can forgive one another and move on to the next level.
Father, how can I ever thank and praise You enough. Thank You that you are just and merciful. Thank You for the sacrifice of Jesus. Thank You that in times of injustice I can look to You for protection and mercy. Help me to be merciful, as You are merciful to me.
Your servant and brother,
+ Sir Godfrey Gregg
Archbishop and Presiding Prelate
Administrator and Apostolic Head
Follow me on Twitter @ArchbishopGregg@MysticPatriarch
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