GENESIS 31:17-32:12 | MATTHEW 10:24-11:6 | PSALM 13:1-6 | PROVERBS 3:16-18
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Twenty years later, it’s time to leave. So, that’s what Jacob does: he takes his wives, children and belongings, and leaves. Only, he doesn’t say goodbye properly. That’s never nice, no matter what.
And yet, things work out alright, and son-in-law Jacob and father-in-law Laban make their peace, and eventually part ways. Rachel’s deceit is unnecessary, and nothing good ever comes from something like that.
Look at these people. Examine them carefully. They weren’t saints by any stretch of the imagination. Jacob comes to Laban with a history of deceit and lies (orchestrated by his mother Rebekah); Laban is a ruthless uncle who works Jacob for twenty years, and cannot be trusted for what he promises; and as for Rachel, she is beset with jealousy and envy in matters related to her husband and children, and is constantly scheming to fix things. And even as she is leaving her father’s house, she steals the family idols. This, in and of itself is a minor crime compared to the larger offense of even considering graven and molten images when she knows that her husband worships the living God, Yahweh.
What do we see here? We see people much like us: people grappling with every known base emotion and quality. These aren’t people whose lives are circumspect and whose characters are spotless. And yet these are people that eventually recognize their wrong-doing and turn to God for forgiveness.
Turning next to our reading in Matthew, we find Jesus continuing his teaching and preaching. He gives fair warning and consolation to that which is to come after his departure to those who claim to be his followers. He says: 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Jesus preaches an intense form of love and devotion that defies human understanding. Just as the Heavenly Father gave us his all in his great love for us, so also are we to make our allegiance to him– sometimes even in the face of forsaking loved ones. That is just how it is.
In the Psalm for today, David has this same kind of devotion and faith. He says to God:
5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the LORD,
for he has been good to me.
May this be our daily refrain!
And Solomon continues to sing the praises of embracing wisdom. He tells of the great benefits of doing so:
16 Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways,
and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
those who lay hold of her will be blessed.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.