Jacob And Laban

“So it came about in the morning that, behold, it was Leah! And he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served with you? Why then have you deceived me?””(Genesis 29:25)

Some call it Karma. Some call it poetic justice. Others use expressions like the chickens have come home to roost; what comes around, goes around; just desserts; or, as my grandma used to say: Gettin’ your comeuppance. Whatever name you want to call it, it’s something that seems to happen far too often to ourselves and far too seldom to those who have wronged us. Yet in God’s program, it is something that we are assured will happen to all of us eventually. Sooner or later, we all must pay the piper.

Far, far too many Christians go about their lives with the unspoken, underlying belief that since our sins have been covered by the Blood of Jesus Christ, then our sins carry with them no consequence. Nobody ever really comes right out and says this, but it is not hard to see that a great many professing Christians believe this by the way they live. Since the fear of Hell is alleviated by the promises of God’s Word, many believers conclude that no other penalty worth mentioning awaits further sin and that they are now free to transgress the commandments of God with complete impunity. But God’s Word assures us all that our misdeeds have a nasty way of coming back to bite us later:

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)

“Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52)

Back when we were in Genesis 3 in this study, we talked about the Ironic Nature of God’s Judgments; how the holy judgments of the Lord seem to always be filled with poetic justice and “comeuppance.” This is a lesson that Jacob learned under the apt tutelage of his Uncle Laban. Not only was the self-styled master of deceit himself hoodwinked, the pure irony of it all had to leave him with the heartsick realization that he was, in fact, getting exactly what he deserved. Not so long ago Jacob, the younger sibling, had posed as his elder brother; sneaking into the tent of his father pretending to be Esau (Genesis 27). Now, the elder sibling of his beloved Rachel comes into his tent; posing as her younger sister (Genesis 29:23). The wedding veil concealed from Jacob what the blindness of old-age had hidden from the sight of his father Isaac. Jacob’s own words of protest had to have lacked any real conviction, even as he spoke them (Gen. 29:25), for Laban had done no differently to him than he and Rebekah had done to Isaac.

Jacob’ sin of deceiving his father and taking advantage of his brother Esau did not cause him to cease to be a child of God. He did not earn himself a spot in Hell through his actions. But I believe if we were to ask him he would say that his conduct was hardly without consequence. In fact, he would likely tell us that the judgment that came on him was in direct proportion and in the very same manner to what he had done. The punishment fit the crime, as it were. A lot of Christians learn this same lesson long after it becomes too late to stop the chain of events that they themselves have put into motion. Though their sins are forgiven and their relationship to God is unchanged, they learn that the Lord does indeed “chasteneth those whom He loves” (Hebrews 12:6 KJV).

But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.” (1 Corinthians 11:31-32)

Praise God that there is hope that we can escape some of the consequences which our sinfulness earns for us. If we judge our own sins, confessing them to the Lord and turning from them, then we can avoid many of God’s judgments on our lives. When we “judge ourselves”, then it is not necessary for the Lord to bring our sins to our attention. Yes, we may still have to deal with the other consequences of our actions, but the Lord’s chastening hand will not be one of them.

May we all live before the Lord in such a way that we shall rejoice in the fact that we will reap what we have sown — not despair of it.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,


[This post was originally published June 17, 2010]

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.


5 responses

  1. Here I was feeling sorry for Jacob. You always put everything in a different light for me and the proper perspective! Thank you so much! :) Blessings, deb


  2. I think that we can all sympathize with Jacob’s disappointment and anger over what was done to him by Laban. But we also have the benefit of seeing what events such as this one is his life did to shape his character and make him the tremendous man of faith that he would become.

    Jacob’s time spent with Laban had a huge impact on him and helped him to learn the humility that would bring him spiritually to where God wanted him. The once haughty and arrogant deceiver who exploited Esau’s carnality and tricked his own father would become the man who humbled himself before his brother (Gen. 33:10-11) and confessed candidly to Pharaoh:

    “…Few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.” (Gen. 47:9b)

    God used the calamities that befell Jacob, even those caused by his own doing, to shape him into the person that He wanted him to be. Thankfully, He does this for us, too.

    Thanks, Deb, God bless you.


  3. Great thoughts. To my shame, I was one of those Christians who lived like the world for several years. I would occasionally flippantly confess my sins, but I didn’t really have the desire to follow Him. Then, like the Prodigal son, I found myself in the proverbial pigpen, and I had nowhere to go but back to my Father. Today, I want nothing more than to love Him, please Him and humbly walk with Him. But I do still sometimes greatly fear reaping some of the things I have sown. I can’t “unsow” those things, but I can start sowing good things that I will want to reap later on down the line. The last line you wrote describes my attitude perfectly. Thank you again for the great thought.

    In Christ,


  4. Thanks, Ben, for sharing this, it’s very moving.

    I, too, wish that I could “unsow” some of the things that I have done. Honestly, I wish that I could even say like Paul that I did all of these things “ignorantly through unbelief” (1 Tim. 1:13). But for a great many of them, I knew better and did it anyway.

    My prayer is that there remains enough time that I may lay some gold, silver, and precious stones beside all of my hay, wood, and stubble (1 Cor. 3:12-13). So much of what I have wrought in the past will simply be burned away.


  5. I completely agree. I have had the exact same thought when reading that passage in I Timothy. I am glad that Lord “delighteth in mercy” (Micah 7:18) and that “mercy rejoiceth against judgment” (James 2:13). I only wish I would have listened earlier and not wasted so many years. Thanks again.


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