“Wherefore then hast thou beguiled me? (Ge.29:25)”
Jacob’s flight to Haran and his sojourn in the House of Laban were foreordained. While at Bethel God had visited him and also blessed him thus: ‘..In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ Sounds familiar is it not? We read it the chapter 12 when God called out Abraham from Haran. God’s promises are not scaled down because Jacob was deceitful and had unfairly won the birth right from his elder brother. God introduces Himself as ‘the Lord God of Abraham, thy father, and the God of Isaac:’ Predestination does not mean that man is not responsible for his actions good or bad. Having deceived his aged father and won the blessing reserved for Esau, he met his match at last in Laban. He slaved for seven years for the hand of Rachel. What are seven years or seventy, for that matter? (By the way the number seven is significant, meaning a period that would in the lexicon of the Spirit mean adequate under the circumstance, and perfect). His love for Rachel was such the years seemed unto him but a few days. This love like his earnestness to covet blessings that birth right carried, is not a trifle but required time to be placed in proper perspective of God. Man calls it suffering when his expectations are dashed. In Jacob’s case Laban played the bait and switch game of a con artist and it worked. Jacob in his own way had set it up. God let him mature in hard service under one who ever kept changing his word. When God had taken over his life (even before he was born) he compensated the seven years stint with love for Rachel. It took the sting out of it. Later his son Joseph would suffer in the hands of his siblings and would land in the Egyptian gaol. He was preparing Joseph for a special role. Here also we see God sustaining him to survive his ordeal.
What we call as sufferings is often our own making. Thus it was with Jacob whose expectations were dashed and also sweat of his labour was only to keep the wily father-in-law in luxury. So at human level we reap what we sow but for a child of God there is post script written by God namely: “All things work together for good …who are the called according to his purpose (Ro.8:28).”
The world is like the House of Laban where labour skill and integrity do not make a decent man prosper. Before Jesus called out Simon Peter to be his disciple we have this verse: “And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net (Lk.5:5).” Like many streams are made out of drops of water running into each other and these having run for length of time are lakes. Such are nations like seas always churning up and throwing about effluents that run into it. “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt (Is.57:20)”. We can understand how Lot was deceived by appearances. The cities of the plains well watered everywhere spoke fertility and comfort. What he overlooked was the fact those who do not have scruples as to live decently but to step with the times find such easy living attractive. Gradually the citizens reworked the moral fabric of Sodom and Gomorrah and Lot had no inkling of it.
Man’s injustice and dishonesty are personal faults which when settled make it difficult for Lot a man whose knowledge of God was not as personal as of Abraham, Laban similarly a man who had a form of religion but no deep experience to fear God as Abraham had. His son Jacob in order to avail the blessings of his father now had to grow unto the measure God wanted. Laban repays Jacob in a way he shall understand. In short the House of Laban was to be his testing ground for the higher purpose of God.