Fleeing the Present only to Confront the Past

Aug 29, 2012


Jacob Flees Laban by Gerhard Hoet 1728

I was afraid.”

About twenty years after arriving at Uncle Laban’s house, Jacob decides to go back home. There was constant tension between him and his uncle. Jacob’s family and fortune had grown quite large. Did he also remember God’s promise to bring him back home?

Rather than letting Laban know his intentions, Jacob loaded his family up, gathered his flocks, and fled in the middle of the night. When Laban found out that Jacob was gone, he followed with angry intentions.

One of the interesting facts about manipulative people is that they get very angry when they are the ones taken advantage of. Laban was furious that Jacob had left. It was probably because of God’s blessing on Jacob that Laban had been so blessed. Laban did not want to lose his source of blessing! God had to speak to Laban in a dream to not harm Jacob.

During the confrontation between Laban and Jacob, we are given another window into Jacob’s soul. “I was afraid.” This is the reason that he gave Laban for fleeing. In the very next chapter of Genesis, Jacob finds out that his brother, Esau, is coming towards him with 400 armed men. For the first time in twenty years, Jacob prays and tells God, “I am afraid that my brother Esau is coming to attack me…”

One of the most amazing things about God’s grace is that it helps us to confront who we really are. It seems like Jacob is starting to realize some things about himself. Jacob was a man who struggled with fear. This may have contributed to his need to control people. As we will see next time, this self-awareness will lead to deep changes.

Do you find it easy or difficult to acknowledge character flaws in your life?

How much of a role does fear play in your decision-making process?

I find it much easier to rationalize my sin, character flaws, etc. At the same time, however, I always find incredible freedom and grace in confession!

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