There are phrases that we use such as, "Like father, like son," or "The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree," to explain the behavior or idiosyncrasies that seem to be passed on from parent to child. It is always interesting to be at family gatherings to see such behavior for a couple of generations across the extended family. For example, there are some verbal and facial expressions that my mom uses that I also see and hear when I'm around my aunt and uncle. My husband says that every now and then I have a facial expression that looks just like my brother. I can see it in my husband's family and extended family as well. We can read the Old Testament and see similar patterns of behavior among generations. The story I am looking at today makes me think of this because of Laban's opening line in verse 14; please read Genesis 29:14-30.
Laban said, "You really are my own flesh and blood!" when he heard Jacob's story. This made me wonder, was he referring to some of the facts that add up to the truth of his grandfather being Abraham? Or, was he referring to Jacob's and Rebekah's deception? I chuckle as I think through the second option; however, I do seriously wonder if that was what he was responding to. Either way, reading through this story we can see that Jacob wasn't too different from his uncle with how they operated. They were not always being straight-forward, and Jacob was used to being on the side that benefited from the deception. However, this time he was working with someone who had been around the block a few more times than himself and found himself on the loosing side.
Jacob had worked for seven years to earn his right to be Rachel's husband only to find himself with her older sister, Leah. You may be wondering how he couldn't have noticed this the night before, but it was tradition for the bride to be covered in a veil so the man would not be able to see her until she was his. Knowing this, she was probably covered throughout the ceremony and banquet and we are told that it was dark when Laban led her to Jacob. Laban promised Jacob Rachel after the bridal week was over; however, Jacob would have to work for him for another seven years. This is where we see how great Jacob's love was for Rachel; he agreed to work for Laban another seven years! Later this week, we will see how Laban's deceptive traits would show up again.
We have no choice what family we are born into, and it is difficult to control idiosyncrasies that we pick up from past generations. We cannot control what we look like unless we want to spend thousands of dollars on surgery. But, when we choose to follow Christ, we become a part of God's family. All of a sudden we are bound to God's character, and the Holy Spirit working in us changes us so that our behavior reflects more and more of Him. This is an encouraging and important truth: while the world may care about who your physical family is, God cares about your spiritual lineage more. As God changes us, our character reflects whose family we belong to. We will be known as His child because His character will be shining through us. What is one of the character traits we should be showing? Love. Jesus said in John 13:34-35 (NLT), "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." Displaying God's love is the number one character trait that will show the world whose we are; this is because God is Love.
Does your behavior show God's character?
This post is linked with On Your Heart Tuesdays and Soli Deo Gloria.