Rachel has a little “idol” issue. Well candidly she has a knapsack idol issue! Let’s start from the top! Can we just start with the synoptic version of our story today? Here are our key players for today’s 5 minute devotional: Laban, Jacob, Rachel and Leah(sisters) and a few household idols! Leah is the older sister! Rachel is the baby! Jacob is the son in law. Laban is the father. He’s a nasty one at that! Jacob(the hubby) works 7 years for Rachel’s hand in marriage and at the last minute, Laban slips in Leah on their wedding night. Jacob then must work another 7 years for Rachel. What a nasty trick! It’s a horrific scene! Literally this is just the crust of the bread friends of Laban’s character flaws. It’s a lot meatier than that but we don’t have time for the long version. Safe to say Laban is a bad dude! Laban is also an idol worshipper known for divination. Jacob is a Jehovah guy all the way. Laban, as you can imagine, gets blessed because of Jacob’s relationship to God. Funny how that works isn’t it?
Fast forward a bunch and tons of things transpire. God blesses Jacob and Laban with livestock. Laban likes this arrangement until God flips the script. When God does this, Laban’s flock gets punier and punier. Laban’s attitude shifts quickly, let me tell you. Jacob chats with the sister wives about this shift in Laban’s attitude. Jacob flees from Laban with Rachel and Leah and flocks in tow! The sisters hearts about their dad really shine through in Genesis 31:14.
You can tell the sisters are salty. They have seen the nastiness of their father’s heart. Rachel’s next step would surprise anyone! She steals the “household idols” that were her fathers. Right before they leave , she steals and conceals them. Knowing Laban’s background of idol worship, we can safely assume these would cause issues for Rachel and the entire family and they did!
Household idols don’t mean much to us today but they held great power in that time. These idols held some lofty significance! One of which is that whoever had them could claim a chunk of the inheritance! Scholars have lots of thoughts about why Rachel would “steal” these household idols. It seems straight forward but no one can really know for sure! Who can know the heart and the debt sometimes our idols hold. Here are some thoughts for us to think through.
1. Was Rachel angry that she and Leah had not received any inheritance from their father? Was this merely spiteful? Could she turn around and sell them for a nice little chunk of change because she received nothing from her father?
2. Did she not trust Jehovah fully and thought it necessary to bring along a little insurance policy in the form of a household idol?
3. Was she still holding on to “idol worship” herself?
4. Did she snag the idols simply for monetary gain to make a buck?
There are lots of questions regarding this moment in history but one thing we do know, her heart was compromised. For some reason, these idols were worth staining her character. She couldn’t just leave them there. She couldn’t walk away. She goes from one lie to the next hiding the fact that she has stolen these little trinkets! Rachel tries her darnedest to hide her idol she has hidden in her camel sack (knapsack). She even has to lie about why she can’t hop off her camel! I’ll trust you to read this one on your own.
The lies will never stop when we need to cover our sin up!We don’t have “household idols” today! But we do still have idols! I have them and so do you! Here are a few things to process through that might give us a clue as what those might be!
1. What do we grab in the moment when we are in a pinch or a bind? Where do we find security? What can we not leave home without? Whatever came to mind for you just now, might be an idol!
2. What is so significant that when no one is looking we grab for it? What do we gravitate back to like a mud hole!
3. Perhaps we inch toward a particular way of life when things get tough? Maybe they look like overeating, alcohol or self loathing! Idols are hidden everywhere even in knapsacks!
4. Maybe your idol worship is a relationship you can’t walk away from.
5. Maybe your idol is an assignment that you find worth in.
6. Maybe it’s your title! You are all that and a bag of chips and if you have to run in the middle of the night, you will make sure you take that name tag with you as a momento of your idol! See…. it’s in there!
These are tough issues to sit with! What’s so connected and sewn into your heart that you would risk sin for it? When you see it, you can name it your idol! Yep! I said it! For whatever reason, be it pride, anger toward her father, the need to guarantee her inheritance status or just her pure greed you see it play out here. Ours can be hidden in these areas as well.
What are you grasping for at the last minute that shows your heart has a little “idol” attached to it!