Monday, May 27, 2013

Too Close to Home

Today's passage:  Genesis 31
     So I've skipped blogging about a series of chapters just because of lack of quiet time. Not surprisingly, the spring forward time change brings the sun out a little earlier in the morning, signaling Youngest's wake up time.  Though I've read through the passages, albeit only a few verses at a time many mornings, the chance to  sit and write about what I've learned has been rare.  Maybe someday, I'll have the opportunity to go back and share what God taught me in those chapters, but for now, I'll start with today's chapter.
     I'm always fascinated with the relationship dynamics in the Bible.  If you think about it, they aren't too different than relationships today, and when I think about that, it isn't hard to imagine the struggles, difficulties and complications that might take place.

Religion in the Home, Part 1
By Charlotte M. Yonge
Illustrated by Julius Schnorr Von Karolsfeld
Published by George W. Bertron, 1913

     This chapter is loaded with family drama. Laban, that sneaky scoundrel, has been cheating Jacob for years. I don't doubt that some of this is the principle of sowing and reaping in Jacob's life for the way he deceived his own brother and father. Still, I think that at this point, Jacob has paid his dues. Jacob complains that Laban has changed his wages ten times. I chuckle to myself a little, because I wonder if dear Daddy-in-law Laban doesn't use Jacob's behavior towards Leah and Rachel as an excuse to swindle Jacob. I can just see it now. Jacob talked a little too sternly to Leah; Laban docked his wages that week. Jacob seemed a little insensitive with Rachel's yearning to have a child; Laban cut Jacob's pay in half. I don't even want to know how severely Laban might have dealt with Jacob when he had children with his daughter's handmaidens, twice. Not that Laban would have told Jacob this was what he was doing, but I can imagine a protective father conveniently using it to his advantage. No wonder Jacob is in a hurry to get back to Abraham's land. Perhaps part of his motivation is to get out of the constant watchful eye of his wives' father. When God tells Jacob that it is time to go back to his family's land, Jacob must have breathed a huge sigh of relief. Finally, I'm outta here. Now to tell the girls. It might not be as easy to convince his wives that it was time to leave Daddy behind. I'm sure they are hesitant at first, but they eventually submit. Part of me wonders if this isn't a match between Rachel and Leah. They have been struggling to be the main affection for years (Rachel usually always winning out) and perhaps this was a chance for both ladies to try to win extra points with her husband. The wife who complained about leaving Daddy would most definitely earn Jacob's anger, while the one who complied would maybe rise a little in his eyes. So maybe neither of them were terribly happy about the plan to leave Laban, but neither of them may have admitted it to avoid being the lesser wife. Then again, maybe good old Dad had become a little too overbearing and they were anxious for a change of scenery as well.
     In any case, Jacob leaves quietly, not giving Laban a clue to where he has gone.  Laban eventually catches up to him (or to be truthful, chases after him) probably intending to bring his daughters and grandchildren back, and maybe digging a sandy grave for Jacob in the desert.  Fortunately, God intervenes and Laban and Jacob make a covenant to not harm each other in the future.  Given both of their deceitful pasts, I don't give a lot of credence to this "covenant", but I'm sure the future chapters will show how it holds up.
      I wish I could expand a little more, but children wake up early even on holidays, and getting this much done amid the distractions has been more than challenging.  With summer approaching, I'm hopeful that sleep patterns (for the boys at least) will be a little later, giving me time to share from time to time.  As the daughter of a career military man, I am ever thankful for the commitment to those who have served in our armed forces, and particularly those who have sacrificed their lives for our great nation.  God bless the families who have loved ones that have paid the price.  Have a blessed Memorial Day.
     Forgive the formatting.  I spent the last half hour trying to reformat the last few paragraphs.  I somehow managed to make it the caption for the picture and without erasing and rewriting the whole thing (which I definitely do not have time to do, I just had to leave as is.  GRRRR!

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