October 12, 2020

Parting Ways

Genesis 31:22-44

Jacob was angry and took Laban to task.

—  Genesis 31:36

Most of us learn early, even as young children, that there are difficult people in the world who cannot be trusted. Jacob’s uncle Laban was a person like that. While Jacob’s flight from Harran is somewhat devious, it becomes more understandable after we hear what life was like for Jacob in Laban’s household.

Even so, Jacob himself was not innocent. Though he had suffered in many ways at his uncle’s hands, Jacob himself also lived by trickery. We see too that Rachel could be deceptive. She stole her father’s “household gods” but managed to cover that up by lying to her father.

As twenty years of pent-up bitterness against Laban comes out, Jacob makes an important statement: “If the God of my father . . . had not been with me . . .” In small ways, Jacob is beginning to recognize his need for God’s presence, his inability to manipulate things for his own advantage.

Has God used Laban’s injustice to reveal Jacob’s own sin?

Contentious people can be unpleasant to deal with, but God can use such people to remind us of his patience and mercy toward us. God did more than offer us a truce; his Spirit remains with us to protect us from the effects of others’ sins—and our own.

Do you see God’s grace in your life today?

Protect us, almighty God, from the designs of people who would harm us. Save us also from our own deceptive ways, for the sake of Jesus. Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!