“You’ve been such a blessing in my life!”
Hopefully, you have said that to at least one person in your life. Even more so, would be for someone to say that to you. In both cases…and mean it.
Laban and Jacob were the perfect foils for one another. Both seemed to have issues with straightforwardness (Jacob has been nicknamed the usurper and trickster, with some justification). It’s hard to believe that the first issue pops up more than 7 years into their relationship when Laban deceives Jacob into marrying Leah instead of Rachel. If personality issues such as this only show up every seven years, then that’s not too bad (though, really, over marriage?). It seems unlikely.
Through a parable, Jesus said that a person who could be trusted with a small task could be trusted with a larger one. There are people who can be trusted with big things but need a lot of people around them to keep from failing with all the little things. There was just something (okay, a lot of things) wrong in this family.
Throughout this, Laban seemed to care little for his daughters, other than how to tie Jacob to him. It is not unreasonable that if it hadn’t have been Jacob, Laban would have tried to hoodwink someone else. The only time Laban appeared to care for his daughters was when Jacob left (Genesis 31), but as Jacob may have been the sharer of the story, he may have left out the positive sides of Laban. Maybe.
The reason Laban’s care (or lack thereof) for his daughters is important is that this was his justification to chase after Jacob when he left after the events of today’s passage in Genesis. However, If we look at Laban’s words, was Laban really worried about his daughters, or was he concerned about the lost blessing.
That Laban felt this so powerfully indicates that the blessing was huge, and Laban knew it. It would just like someone who bought Apple stock during its first IPO ($22) and then threw it in the shredder (valued at more than $15,000) today. Laban wanted to seize the blessing, and it makes sense.
Except the purpose of true blessing isn’t to be seized or owned by one person. True blessing is to be shared with others, so that they may be blessed.
When Peter talks about Abraham’s blessing there is a difference. The Jews didn’t really try to hold onto the blessing, per se, they merely thought that their bloodline along with the Law was the blessing. Some scholars point to Israel’s physical location in ancient times. Much of the commerce of that part of the world went through it. They had the opportunity to be a blessing to others by sharing God’s blessings.
One of the easiest ways to think of blessings and blessing is to think of water in a cup and in a pipe. A cup is a fixed point with a fixed volume. A pipe carries the water to others. A cup of water either evaporates or stagnates.
- What does it mean to be a blessing?
- What qualifies something or someone as a blessing?
- Why do people seize blessings and not let go?
- Why might a blessing be greater when it is given away rather than held?
With the blessings we have received we bless the Lord.Clowes, David. 500 More Prayers for All Occasions. Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2015. Print.
With the gifts in our hands we praise his name;
with our hearts and hands and voices we give thanks to the Lord,
calling on all his creation to bless and praise his holy name. Amen.