“Are you moving the refrigerator?” he yelled. “My hand was back there!”
My immediate answer? “No! Of course, not!”
Okay, think about it. How else did the frig. move? We're the only two people in the stinkin' house! Duh. But I barely touched it, and I didn't know it was on wheels, and it moved less than ¼ inch…but still…I moved it. Ugh. So I had to back-pedal. “Well, yes, actually, I, um, well…” So how do you respond in the heat of the moment?
Gen. 31:22-24 – “On the third day Laban was told that Jacob had fled. Taking his relatives with him, he pursued Jacob for seven days and caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead. Then God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and said to him, 'Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.'”
- Jacob with 4 wives and 11 of his own children (not counting servants and their children) covered 300 miles in 10 days. No McDonalds. No Holiday Inns. Tents, campfires, camels, herds and flocks. And it took Laban 7 days to catch them – 7 days of rage building. In the heat of the moment, God stepped in before Laban could harm His chosen Covenant-bearer. Many commentators believe God's direction to “not say anything to Jacob, good or bad” meant that Laban shouldn't try to persuade Jacob to return to Haran using bribery or threats. The important thing is – God isn't limited to speak only to those who serve Him. He can protect His children even from those who don't recognize God as the True God.
- Even in the heat of the moment, Laban mixes truth with lies – because deception is mired so deeply into his character. Imagine the highly charged emotions of this scene. Imagine the fear in Jacob and his wives/children. Imagine the anger/frustration in Laban at being duped and then kept from vengeance by a God not even his own. And finally, imagine that the only gods you think you can rely on have just been stolen by the one person who has taken everything else you value.
- Jacob was painfully honest in the heat of this moment. Fear was his motivation for their stealth departure. And in his moment of righteousness, he makes a rash promise based in pride…and it could have gotten his most beloved wife killed.
- In the heat of the moment, Rachel panicked and lied. Her life depended on it, and she'd seen the deceptive game her father and husband had played for twenty years. Why wouldn't she lie? But does the prevalence of deceit make deceit acceptable?
- Okay, Jake. A little over-the-top on the self-righteousness? Aren't you the one that swindled your hungry brother out of his birthright? Aren't you the one that deceived your blind, old dad? And BTW, if Rachel hadn't lied, you'd be digging her grave about now. No matter how righteous we seem to ourselves or others, we are never pure enough to tout our own holiness – not when we serve the Servant Savior, the Almighty God of grace.