Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Karma Gotcha!

When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn't I? Why have you deceived me?"
Laban replied, "It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one. Finish this daughter's bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work." Genesis 29: 25-27

Today's Reading: Genesis 29-30; Matthew 9:1-17

Whew... Talk about the ultimate okeydoke. That was so unacceptable.
So we left off with Jacob being shade shiest to his brother by not only stealing his birthright but also the blessing that Isaac had intended for Esau. Esau by this point is so furious that he’s talking out loud about killing Jacob. So, their mother worked out a way for Jacob to skip town.

Smart woman.

She sends him back to her home town under the auspices of finding a wife. And just as he arrives at the well who is the woman that he sees… none other than a fetching lass named Rachel.

He’s smitten and as a result agrees to work for her father, Laban, for seven years in exchange for Rachel as his wife when the seven years are up.

How chivalrous was that?

He puts in seven years hard labor for his prize. Then finally, it’s time to pay up. But, the night of the wedding Laban slips the not so fresh daughter in to the marital chambers and Jacob “lays” with her. I have several questions here:

  1. How did Jacob not know he was with the stand in?
  2. Did she wear a veil the entire night?
  3. Where was Rachel during the ceremony?
  4. What? How? When? What????
(any bible scholars with nifty answers here please chime in.)

But this isn’t really my point. My point here is that Jacob the trickster got his comeuppance.

The hustler has been hustled. Score one point for karma.

Ok I know that using a word like that is tough for many of my Christian folk especially since it doesn’t show up explicitly in the Bible and comes from another religious heritage but the concept is all over the text and we will see it many more times throughout this year.

Generally speaking we receive what we dish out.

In Matthew chapter 7 we see the positive side of this concept from Jesus as an overarching law to help govern our lives.

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. – Genesis 7:12

Jesus doesn’t tell us why in the next line. He keeps it moving. But this story of Jacob shows us how this can go terribly wrong. Jacob acted foul to Esau and as a result he was treated foul by Laban.

Here’s the connection… If Jacob hadn’t been so foul to Esau he never would have been forced to move into Laban’s household. He never would have worked for him nor been in the position to stay there for a long time.

Even if he did go back to get a wife, why wouldn’t Isaac have done it the way his father did it for him? Fetch a servant, sit him on a camel, and tell him to get to steppin’ and don’t come back without a bride for the boy.

But no, Jacob got himself exiled by his actions and therefore was put in a vulnerable position that Laban could exploit.

And exploit it he did.

Jesus didn’t say that this kind of retribution for our actions is guaranteed… but hey… if Jacob is any kind of example, it’s better to follow Jesus’ advice than not to. Odds are that life will be much easier this way.

1 comment:

  1. 3 lessons: 1. You gotta know when to tell mama to stay outta your business, 2. what goes around definitely comes around, as you have said, and 3. there is a spiritual lesson in him not knowing he was laying with the 'stand in'. I'll keep thinking about that one too.

    As usual, nicely done.


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