Politicians are often accused of lying. Most of the time this is a bit unfair, after all, everything that they say is recorded ready to be produced should they ever say one thing and do another. What I sometimes find frustrating, is not so much what they say, as what they do not say. In recent elections, there hasn’t been much difference between the major parties. They have all agreed that the deficit needs to be cut but no one will say exactly, or even broadly, how they intend to do it. The reason is of course, it’s unpleasant and they don’t want to talk about unpleasant things. The problem is that sooner or later, unpleasant things have to be tackled, we can’t ‘park’ them forever. Jacob has been running away from his problems but now these problems were mounting up and it was time to face them.
Doing what God wants isn’t always easy. Sometimes preachers can make it sound easy; ‘just go with what God wants’, it sounds great but God wants us to trust him and that means walking by faith. That is always challenging; if it wasn’t, we wouldn’t need faith.
God was with Jacob and had blessed him during his time in Haran. When he left for Canaan, God still protected him. These were lawless times and by the time Laban caught up with him, they were hundreds of miles from Haran, it would have been easy to simply kill off Jacob and head back home with the loot. God brought him through. He even warned Laban not to say anything to Jacob good or bad, leaving Laban in no doubt; Jacob was not to be touched. Laban even made it clear to Jacob that his safety was down to the Lord’s intervention;
“I have the power to harm you; but last night the God of your father said to me, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.’” (31:29)
It makes me wonder how often the Lord intervenes on our behalf and we never know. One thing we do know is that the Lord keeps his promises.
Nettles would still need to be grasped, Jacob had been deceitful in running away rather than taking the Lord at his word (31:20), and Rachel was a thief (31:19) and a liar (31:34-35) but the Lord hadn’t finished with them. The good news for us is that God works with imperfect people.
Bend us, O Lord,
Where we are hard and cold,
In Your refiner’s fire
Come purify the gold.
Though suffering comes
And evil crouches near,
Still our living God
Is reigning, He is reigning here. (Restore O Lord – Graham Kendrick)