Happenings around Antioch

Jacob’s Truth Came from God

It had been at least 14 years since Jacob started working for Laban to “earn” his wife, Rachel. The agreement has been fulfilled, Joseph has been born, Jacob’s wife is happy, at least one of them, and he is ready to go. But I like the fact that Jacob just doesn’t just slip away in the night with his 4 wives and his 11 sons and 1 daughter. He goes to his father-in-law and asks him to release him. “Send me away, that I may go to my own home and country…you know the service that I have given you.” It was a show of respect for his father-in-law even though it sounded like a demand. Laban then appeals to Jacob for a favor but notice how these two men acknowledge the truth and its source.

Laban says he has learned “in divination” that the reason he has been blessed by God is because of Jacob. Divination will be prohibited by God in Deuteronomy 18, because it was an attempt to find truth in ways that bypass God and his revelation. Consulting a medium, reading tea leaves, interpreting omens or dreams can sometimes reveal truth, but they are not the means by which God directs his people. They can also open worlds of danger. He alone is the source of truth and God has given us his Word. Laban came up with the right idea, that he was blessed only because God’s hand of blessing was on Jacob. But what Laban says he “divined” somehow, Jacob simply stated as fact. He said to Laban, “The Lord has blessed you wherever I have turned.” Emphasis mine. Hey, Laban, you are 100% correct that you have been blessed but don’t miss the connection between God and me to you. Jacob was a great employee because he had a great work ethic, no doubt. But Jacob was also blessed by God, and that blessing had benefitted others.

How should we acknowledge to a watching world that our work ethic and any blessing on us that spills over to others is because of God?  We don’t need to say “I’m blessed” every time someone asks us how we are. You certainly may do that, but that’s not enough. We don’t need to put up a poster at work that says, “No God, no peace. Know God, know peace.” Again, not enough. We don’t need to wear a cross around our neck or put a bumper sticker on our car. Especially one that says, “In case of the rapture, this car will be unmanned.” Please don’t put that on your car, for lots of reasons. You may start seeing one on your neighbor’s truck that says, “In case of rapture, can I have your car?”

Ok, so what should we do, instead of trite sayings or posters or bumper stickers? We should speak about him. Use our words. Acknowledge God at every opportunity that is appropriate. Talk about God and God’s truth as the source of life. Be a witness in the fullest meaning of that word. You say, hold up! If I do that in my job or at the club or with the guys or at (fill in the location)…I will get nothing but grief! Maybe even persecution! You may be right, and Peter has a word for you:

“Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is God’s will, than for doing evil.” -1 Peter 3:13-17