Words of Faith 6-8-2022
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2022
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 Then Jacob put his children and his wives on camels,  and he drove all his livestock ahead of him, along with all the goods he had accumulated in Paddan Aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.
 When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father's household gods.  Moreover, Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him he was running away.  So he fled with all he had, and crossing the River, he headed for the hill country of Gilead.
 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 had pitched his tent in the hill country of Gilead when Laban overtook him, and Laban and his relatives camped there too.  Then Laban said to Jacob, "What have you done? You've deceived me, and you've carried off my daughters like captives in war.  Why did you run off secretly and deceive me? Why didn't you tell me, so I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of tambourines and harps?  You didn't even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters good-by. You have done a foolish thing.  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.'  Now you have gone off because you longed to return to your father's house. But why did you steal my gods?"
 Jacob answered Laban, "I was afraid, because I thought you would take your daughters away from me by force.  But if you find anyone who has your gods, he shall not live. In the presence of our relatives, see for yourself whether there is anything of yours here with me; and if so, take it." Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the gods.
 So Laban went into Jacob's tent and into Leah's tent and into the tent of the two maidservants, but he found nothing. After he came out of Leah's tent, he entered Rachel's tent.  Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them inside her camel's saddle and was sitting on them. Laban searched through everything in the tent but found nothing.
 Rachel said to her father, "Don't be angry, my lord, that I cannot stand up in your presence; I'm having my period." So he searched but could not find the household gods.
The Lord had directed Jacob to move back to the land of his father, Isaac. Jacob thought it best to sneak away without telling his father-in-law, Laban, that he was leaving. We do not know of a directive from God to leave without notice, but Jacob probably discerned that it was best to make a break for it. No long good-byes were needed here. Laban had not built a relationship of trust with his son-in-law.
Rachel greatly complicated the journey by stealing her father's household gods. These "gods" were little pagan idols, figurines, which she had seen in the tent growing up. Apparently, they were very important to her father and she knew it.
We don't know the motive for the theft. She may have stolen the gods to get back at her father for his many betrayals. It is possible that they represented a "right" to later inheritance. It is also possible that Rachel had a hard time turning loose of the superstitious paganism in which she was raised.
Whatever the motivation, Rachel's theft probably forced a long needed confrontation between Jacob and Laban. God allowed this confrontation to occur, but only after personally warning Laban to be careful in his dealing with Jacob. God's watchful care was over Jacob and his family.
When Laban caught up with Jacob, he made a big deal about how he had been deprived of a loving farewell to his daughters and grandchildren. Still, it is difficult to believe that family affection had anything to do with Laban's seven-day pursuit. In truth, pride and a superstitious fear that he had lost his household idols seemed to drive Laban. He had tried all his life to control those around him. He had cheated and manipulated at every turn. Now, he could not believe that his family was trying to get as far away from him as possible.
When informed of the theft, Jacob unknowingly placed a death sentence upon Rachel, but the gods were never found. The final scene in this passage is one of graphic insult to her father's "little gods" as Rachel sat upon them during a time of uncleanness.
The reality is that breaking away from the past can be difficult. Letting go of the hurt is hard. Breaking free from control is arduous. Turning loose of the old symbols of power is very difficult. For Rachel and Leah, leaving Haran was a painful admission that they would never have the loving relationship and blessing that they always longed for from their father. Rachel's theft of the "little gods" was probably both a final jab and a reluctance to let go.
One cannot help but wonder what Rachel was thinking as she stole "daddy's precious gods" and then sat on them in the tent as he searched for them. (I could not help but imagine a little girl hiding the TV remote or scratching a precious car just to get her daddy's attention!) Breaking away is difficult, but there are times when the Lord God calls us to break away, and break away we must.
Has the Lord called you to make a break with the past? To leave behind painful memories or disappointments? Has the Lord called you to move forward into His blessing and peace? Are you clinging to the pain or the paganism of the past? It is time to let go and step into the love and blessing of your heavenly Father. He is watching over you. For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11).
Father God, forgive me for clinging to the past. Give me the grace and strength to let go. Set me free to go forward and enjoy the blessing and peace You have planned for me. In Jesus' name.
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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2022
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2022 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.
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