The Benefit of the Doubt

4 So Jacob sent word to Rachel and Leah to come out to the fields where his flocks were. 5 He said to them, “I see that your father’s attitude toward me is not what it was before, but the God of my father has been with me. 6 You know that I’ve worked for your father with all my strength, 7 yet your father has cheated me by changing my wages ten times. However, God has not allowed him to harm me. 8 If he said, ‘The speckled ones will be your wages,’ then all the flocks gave birth to speckled young; and if he said, ‘The streaked ones will be your wages,’ then all the flocks bore streaked young. 9 So God has taken away your father’s livestock and has given them to me.

10 “In breeding season I once had a dream in which I looked up and saw that the male goats mating with the flock were streaked, speckled or spotted. 11 The angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob.’ I answered, ‘Here I am.’ 12 And he said, ‘Look up and see that all the male goats mating with the flock are streaked, speckled or spotted, for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and go back to your native land.'”

14 Then Rachel and Leah replied, “Do we still have any share in the inheritance of our father’s estate? 15 Does he not regard us as foreigners? Not only has he sold us, but he has used up what was paid for us. 16 Surely all the wealth that God took away from our father belongs to us and our children. So do whatever God has told you.” Genesis 31: 4-16

The Preaching Source interprets this passage better than I can:

“31:4-15 – Here, Jacob repeats the details of the previous chapter from his own perspective. The main differences are Jacob’s assertion of God’s presence throughout Laban’s changing of his wages (31:4), Jacob’s crediting the Lord for His protection from Laban (31:7) and that Jacob interprets his actions in deceiving Laban as following the directive of the Angel of God (31:11). This detail is not recorded by the narrator in Genesis 30.”

What we initially believed was a conniving, thieving son-in-law turned out to be to God’s glory, unless of course Jacob lied about the dream he had.

In any event, things are not at all as they seem. That goes for passages like this. That goes for life in general. How many times have you misjudged a situation because you made a series of gross assumptions?

Sometimes we view life as it really is but we never really know. Is that person looking depressed because he lost five bucks or because he lost his sister? Big difference but we can see some of the same facial expressions in both scenarios. We don’t know what people are thinking or why they do what they do. We see point in time actions.

Be careful about judging others wrongly because in the end, you really don’t know their full story and probably never will.

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