Archive for July, 2018

“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’ ” (Genesis 31:5 NIV).

Speaking of attitudes that change. It took twenty years, but Uncle Laban’s attitude toward Jacob, his nephew, changed. It wasn’t for the better.

Here’s what happened. Jacob tricked his father and angered his brother, Esau, so that his life was in danger at home. He escaped to Padan Aram to get a wife acceptable to his parents. He arrived without money for the dowry, but somehow he was to marry one of Laban’s daughters. Jacob didn’t know which daughter he was going to marry. But when he first saw Rachel he fell madly in love with her. He fell so in love with her that he offered to work for Laban for seven years for the right to marry her.

Love is blind, so they say, and in Jacob’s case it was certainly true. On the night Jacob thought he married Rachel, his bride was wearing a veil. Laban had switched his daughters and Jacob actually married Leah. It wasn’t until the next morning that Jacob realized there had been a switch.

He confronted Laban and demanded to know why Leah was his bride instead of Rachel. It wasn’t until this moment that Jacob found out, as Laban quietly explained, that it was tradition for the oldest daughter to be married first. And now Laban generously offered his second daughter, Rachel, for another seven years of labor. Jacob agreed that he would work seven more for the right to marry Rachel.

The Bible tells us that the seven years went very quickly because Jacob was so in love. And all of that time Laban was reaping the benefit of Jacob’s overwhelming love for Rachel. In fact, he was happy to use his daughter as a bargaining tool. I’m guessing Jacob probably worked harder than any other of the Laban’s servants because he was Laban’s son-in-law. And I believe Laban’s attitude was one of power over Jacob. He could probably have asked Jacob to do anything for him and Jacob would have happily complied.

After Jacob worked and earned both of his wives, he was ready to go back home with his wives and children. Laban wanted him to stay and so Jacob made a request. He said he would continue taking care of Laban’s flocks if he could have every speckled and spotted sheep, every dark-colored lamb, and every spotted and speckled goat for wages. In the end this deal made Jacob quite wealthy. And now I believe this is where Laban’s attitude begins to change. He no longer had power over Jacob.

By now Jacob had become as rich as Laban and didn’t have to work for him for any other purpose than respect, because Laban was his father-in-law. This was hard for Laban to take since he was used to being in control. You can’t hide your attitude and in Jacob’s case it was obvious that Laban’s attitude had changed toward him. Jacob chose not to be distressed by Laban’s changing attitude, but to focus on God’s provision and blessing throughout those twenty years.

From this story we can learn that attitudes come from deep within. Circumstances change, and attitudes toward you will change, too. God wants us to always remember His attitude toward us. As the verse reminds us, God, our Father, is with us. Therefore, let’s chose the attitude of always trusting God in every situation. Since He will turn it to good, our attitude is one of joyful expectation ― like when you were a child anticipating Christmas and looking forward to days off school and presents under the tree.

God in Heaven, I thank You for all the beautiful things in life. You are the One who gives perfect gifts. Keeping a good attitude in the face of blessings and changes glorifies You. Show me how to constantly glorify You, even when someone’s attitude toward me changes. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

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