Friday, January 6, 2017

Genesis 31:36-42 comments: Jacob's cry against Laban

36 ¶  And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me? 37  Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt us both. 38  This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten. 39  That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. 40  Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes. 41  Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times. 42  Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.

Jacob is very angry, or wroth, used previously in reference to Cain in Genesis 4. He chode, the past tense of chide, meaning to rebuke someone, to speak angrily at. The Hebrew word is translated for plead, strive, contend, and debate. He defies Laban to explain what sin he committed against Laban to justify this hot pursuit and search of Jacob’s belongings. He served Laban for two decades and served him well, looking after and multiplying Laban’s possessions, taking responsibility himself for any losses. He suffered much physically. For fourteen years he worked to earn Leah and Rachel and for six years the wealth that was his, enduring many changes of payment. Laban is a crook and were it not for God’s hand in this Jacob is certain he would have been forced to go away empty handed. God saw his suffering and hard work and that is why Laban was warned by the God of Jacob’s fathers not to harm him.

Be warned about employers like this. This is a good lesson to learn also regarding God’s will in blessing someone in a difficult situation where those with power are against him. God can help you prosper even when you are being cheated, oppressed, or held in contempt. This does not justify an employer saying that you should trust in God so he can cheat you out of your pay. It just lets you know that God can help even in a situation where everything seems to be against you if you are doing right. Notice the extra mile that Jacob went to protect Laban’s assets and take losses upon himself. Jacob was an independent contractor whose hours worked in a day were not determined by his employer. He used his knowledge and God’s will to accomplish his work making sure that his employer received no hurt, when possible.

For you who complain about how you are treated by your employer do you take responsibility for losses ‘on your watch’ like Jacob did? Of course, this only applies to an independent contractor situation you might think. But, at work, do you give your employer all the time they are paying you for? Do you take office supplies home or do you have little regard for wasting your employer’s equipment or being efficient? This is a two-way street. The employee who expects God to bless them in spite of a bad situation better not find that he or she is just as much a villain as the boss, if they want that blessing.

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