I need to recognise that I’m not perfect and deserve God’s judgment, but, instead of arguing with Him about my rights and righteousness, perhaps I should spend a whole lot more time repenting.

Genesis 31:36-38

36 And (as) for Jacob… he burned with anger and he argued[1] with Laban.  And Jacob answered, and said to Laban, “What’s my rebellion?  How have I sinned that you hotly pursued[2] after me? 37 Because you touched and felt[3] all my things, (and) what did you find from all the things (that belonged to) your house?  Put what (you found) before my brothers and your brothers, and they’ll judge[4] between the two of us. 38 I’ve (been) with you these twenty years. Your sheep[5] and your goats haven’t been bereaved of (their) young[6], and I haven’t eaten the rams[7] of your sheep and goats.

Application

How easy it is to be self-righteous when my sin is hidden.

Jacob had no idea that he was guilty.  Rachel had stolen the gods from Laban, and, when Jacob really should have been on his knees pleading for mercy for his favourite wife, he instead was abusing his father-in-law, who had rightfully accused him.

What I don’t know, I don’t know.  So, wouldn’t it be good if I acted out of grace instead of letting people have the fury of my indignation?  Anyone can proclaim their innocence and their rights when they fail to see their own guilt.

On my part, it’s a simple thing to judge my behaviour by comparing it to the standards of others and, in doing so, feel justified.  The problem is that God judges by a standard of perfection, and I have failed miserably, and, sadly, continue to sin.  Jacob claimed to do all the right things… looked after the sheep and didn’t have the occasional ram roast at Laban’s expense, but what he didn’t see was the failure in his own character.

I need to recognise that I’m not perfect and deserve God’s judgment, but, instead of arguing with Him about my rights and righteousness, perhaps I should spend a whole lot more time repenting.

Prayer

Father, please forgive me.  Forgive me for the indignation and anger I often show when I don’t get my own way.  Forgive me for my self-centred way of living.  Forgive me for lying and exaggerating for effect or to be funny… or any other reason.  Please fill me with You Spirit, and help me to live Your way.

In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


[1] רִיב – riyb, ruwb – Strongs 7378 – (v) – “contend/contended/contends/plead/plead my case/pleaded/pleads/quarrel/quarreled/quarrels/strive physically or with words/oppose/bring legal charges/strive/contend/conduct a legal case/sue/complain against/cond with/to have a dispute/be hostile/qarrel/disputing/taunting/insulting/fighting/to engage in physical combat between two people/accuse/prosecute/ever strive/field/find fault/have a quarrel/judge/strive/reprimanded/vigourously plead”

[2] דָּלַק – dalaq –  Strongs 1814 – “set on fire/to burn/hotly pursue/to kindle/to inflame/be drunk/flame/persecute/pursue/hotly pursue/chase/chased/chasing/be drunk/flame/persecute”

[3] מָשַׁשׁ – mashash – Strongs 4959 – (v) – “grope/gropes/felt through/feel/felt … to feel/to grope/touch and feel [Qal] … to feel over/to fel through/grope/use touch to examine thorougly [piel] … to feel/make one grope [Hifil]

[4] יָכַח – yakach – Strongs 3198 – (v) – “to prove/decide/judge/rebuke/reprove/argue/correct/to reason/to convict/to argue/vindicated/rebuke/chastened/complain/accuse/choose”

[5] רָחֵל – Rachel – “ewe/ewes/sheep/adult female sheep/Rachel, name of Jacob’s wife”

[6] מְשַׁכֶּלֶת, שָׁכַל – shakol – Strongs 7921 – (v) – “to be bereaved/make childless/miscarry/cause barrennesss/show barrenness or abortion/miscarrying/bereave them of children/childless/depopulated/infruitful/unfruitfulness”

[7] אַיִל – ayil – Strongs 352 – (n . m) – “ram/male sheep/strong man/leader/ruler/despot/mighty tree/species of tree (translated “oak” or “terebinth”)/protecting wall/pillar/jamb/door post/pilaster/side pillar/side pillars/lintel/projecting wall/jamb/doorpost”