I hate injustice. And when I say “I hate injustice”, I mean, I loathe it with my entire being. When I see other people being mistreated or unjustly treated, something stirs up within me. This is one of the reasons why Laban is, in my opinion, one of the most infuriating characters in the entire Bible. He swindles Jacob and gets years and years of labor out of him because he was deceitful – ugh!
Jacob meets Rachel, Laban’s daughter, wants to marry her, and agrees to work for Laban for 7 years in order to procure Rachel as his bride. Jacob follows the terms of their verbal contract perfectly, yet Laban goes back on his word, giving Jacob Leah instead of Rachel. Then, Laban says that he’ll give Rachel to Jacob if he agrees to serve him for another 7 years. What a crook!
Now, if I were Jacob, I would’ve been done with this fool. I would’ve fulfilled my contract, but I would’ve been less than enthusiastic about it. I likely wouldn’t have gone above and beyond the “call of duty” but would’ve done the bare minimum because Laban wouldn’t have been worth my full effort. Yet, that’s not what Jacob did.
“You yourself know how I have served you, and how your livestock has fared with me. For you had little before I came, and it has increased abundantly, and the Lord has blessed you wherever I turned.” Genesis 30:29-30 (ESV)
Jacob was faithful and obedient to their verbal contract, doing his best job even though he was working for a corrupt man who had tricked and swindled him.
One of the hardest lessons that I’ve had to learn (and am still learning) is how to persist and be obedient in the midst of a situation I see as unjust. I’ve had to choose to serve people well who (from my perspective) weren’t treating me or the others around me well, yet I had to be obedient to God and my word. This is not fun or enjoyable but is worth it.
As I continue reading through these Bible stories of obedient actions by God-followers, I’m seeing more and more clearly how obedience is always the better option. To our flesh, it might seem like a good idea to cut corners or obey half-heartedly or do only the things that are in our best interest, but that’s simply not how it works in God’s economy. God isn’t grading us on a curve, if I’m a little more obedient than my neighbor I don’t get a gold star for my efforts. He still loves me and pursues me even when I fail to obey, but he blesses obedience. I believe he cheers every time we respond according to his Word.
Jacob had grown up knowing how to manipulate and lie and he could’ve easily done that. But he didn’t. He honored the man who had dishonored him and his wives. Though Jacob’s story didn’t start out great, he sure did learn his lesson along the way. He learned that obedience is important to God and modeled that trait for us.
If you’ve ever faltered in the obedience department know that you’re not alone and it’s definitely not too late for you! Let’s choose to repent for our disobedience and respond appropriately to God’s word today!
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