“Then Jacob became very angry, and he challenged Laban. ‘What’s my crime?’ he demanded. ‘What have I done wrong to make you chase after me as though I were a criminal?’”Genesis 31:36 (NLT)
It’s not always easy to say goodbye. With those we love we may shed tears of sorrow. With Jacob and Laban, however, it was a different matter. Jacob was afraid of what his uncle would do to him. It had been a difficult twenty years where Jacob, the deceiver, had been deceived. Moreover, Laban changed his wages ten times! After Jacob stole away, Laban was in hot pursuit. Did this remind Jacob of when he fled to escape his brother Esau? Laban would have likely harmed Jacob, but on the eve of their confrontation, the LORD warned him not to speak either good or bad to his nephew.
We are tested by how we handle conflicts. Jesus said that a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Do we fly off the handle? Do we run away? Do we harbor a grudge? Or do we pretend that everything is good to their face while talking behind their back? There are so many ways we can “go south.”
David certainly had his share of enemies. In Psalm 37, he gives great advice for how to deal with them:
“Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper— it only leads to harm.”Psalm 37:7–8 (NLT)
Jacob could trust in the LORD to be his defense because his conscience was clear. The conflict with Uncle Laban would be intense, but God would help him through it. We can rest in peace when we’ve committed the matter to God.
Do you have an enemy or antagonist in your life? Does someone intimidate, bully, or drive you crazy? Then trust in the LORD and don’t fret. Be strong and courageous. By God’s grace and wisdom, calmly speak the truth. You may be angry, but in your anger do not sin (Ephesians 4:26).
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