Why did you flee secretly and trick me, and did not tell me, so that I might have sent you away with mirth and songs, with tambourine and lyre? Genesis 31:27
Jacob and his wives snuck away from Laban’s camp and headed back to Canaan. They did it while Laban and his sons were thirty miles away so that they could make a clean exit. Laban came home, discovered them gone, and pursued them. He was angry. He accused Jacob of leaving secretly and then added to the narrative by telling him that he had missed a going away party to be given in his honor. Really? Laban had no intention of allowing Jacob to leave. Jacob had been Laban’s cash cow.
Did Jacob believe Laban’s argument? Probably not, but in many instances, it’s easy to be wooed with lies. What happens when a less-than-true person tries to manipulate you? Do you give them the benefit of the doubt before applying spiritual discernment?
While it’s impossible to know for sure if someone is sincere, we shouldn’t trust just because someone claims to be trustworthy. We must be savvy, considering the person’s behavioral patterns and track record. Most of the time, there will be a traceable history that proves sincerity or insincerity.
Today, maybe you are one who has run home to a marriage partner, putting yourself in an unsafe environment because you were charmed. Maybe you made a poor choice for a business partner, or ministry team member, because of their charisma. Others may have warned you that there was another side to them but because you didn’t see it personally, you went with your limited experience of them. They were convincing, after all.
Jesus teaches us to be discerners of spirits, to be spiritually intuitive as we interact with people. Like Adam, we are to rule our garden, being careful who has access to holy things. There are those like Laban among us; out to feed their appetites for greed, power, and control. No child of God should enable such behavior by trusting indiscriminately. We’ve learned the hard way that, because the way of discipleship is a narrow way, few there be that walk on it. Only the Spirit of God can point us in safe directions.
Make us spiritually street-smart and where mistakes have been made, show us how to navigate the places of difficult confinement. Amen