When True Character Is Revealed

Thus [Jacob] increased greatly and had large flocks, female servants and male servants, and camels and donkeys. Now Jacob heard that the sons of Laban were saying, “Jacob has taken all that was our father’s, and from what was our father’s he has gained all this wealth.” And Jacob saw that Laban did not regard him with favor as before. Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.” Genesis 31:1-3

Laban set up Jacob to fail. He stole some of his spotted and striped animals and hid them with his own son’s flocks to mate them. He would then accuse Jacob of stealing. When God prospered Jacob anyway, all pretenses of love and friendship Laban had exhibited dissolved. No longer able to hide his true feelings, he hurled some accusations and things became adversarial.

God did not tell Jacob to repair the relationship. He told him to leave and to return to the land of his father. God released Him with His blessing.

Time in Laban’s household was a spiritual school. Jacob faced the consequences of his past sins and bore up well under divine discipline. He gave his conniving father-in-law every opportunity to prosper and embrace Yahweh. In the end, Laban’s true character rose to the surface. What had been veiled for over a decade was exposed when issues of greed, which was Laban’s stronghold, pushed him to the limit. It was clear that Laban was not going to change so God released Jacob to leave.

There are relationships that are tolerable for a while, sometimes a long while. Others perceive harmony but you know that beneath the surface, you are dealing with an adversary, not a friend.   You may be in ministry with this person, or work for him. God has not released you to leave, and you are straining under the pretense. Jacob’s story is a firsthand illustration that if we do what is right and bear up well under the pressure of unfairness, there will be a graduation day. Some issue will cause everything to blow up. What is hidden now will become clear for all to see and God will use their sin to release us to our next appointment.

For now, it can seem like you’re trapped. There is no such thing as ‘trapped’ in God’s purposes. Things might be uncomfortable, even excruciating. Your pride may be assaulted daily. Your coping ability might be pushed to the limits. Cling to God and allow this to strengthen your spiritual muscles of faith. One grand morning, God may just say, “Well done! Move on!”

I’ve experienced some oppressive relationships. They seemed endless. You taught me so much about my adversary and about myself. I remember how I felt when you said, “Move!” Oh Lord, You are a Deliverer! Amen

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