Friday, July 20, 2012

Motives and Intentions

Genesis 30:25-30

I've had a few jobs where I've had to make phone calls that I knew would be difficult because no matter what my intentions were, I knew the information would not be received well.  But, they were also calls I knew I would have to do because it was the right thing to do.  Don't you hate those kind of circumstances?  You know what is right and what should be done; however, you also know that it isn't going to be easy.  One phone call in particular, I had to consider the best interest of multiple people where the person on the other end was only considering themselves, which made the conversation even more difficult.  I remember having to remind the person that we needed to consider the other people and needed to treat them well, but the person on the other end of the phone line wanted only what would suit their interest.  I remember feeling frustrated and tired at the end of the phone call, but also relieved in knowing that I had finished a difficult task.  I am looking at just a few verses today, that has a similar issue: one person has honest and just motives and the other wants what is best for themselves.  Please read Genesis 30:25-30.

In these verses, we see that Jacob wanted to return to his homeland.  If you remember, Jacob had a moment with God that changed him forever.  From that moment on, Jacob knew that no matter what, God was with him.  We can see the evidence of that faith in these verses.  The first indicator is that he calls Canaan his "own homeland," even though his family were living as strangers in the land.  But he believed in the promise that God had given him.  He knew that this land would one day belong to his family.  The other indicator was that Jacob didn't demand anything from Laban, he just asked to be able to take his family and go.  He could have demanded more since he had worked longer than their bargain; however, Jacob seemed to trust that God would provide for him.  Jacob just wanted to live on his own and provide for his own family in the land God promised him.

Laban, on the other hand, seemed to have his own motives in the conversation.  Notice that Laban recognized that since Jacob had begun working for him God blessed his household.  The NLT leaves out the phrase, "please stay," but notice it is in the NIV.  This phrase is in the Hebrew text and shows us some of Laban's motivation.  His response to Jacob showed that he was thinking more of his own fortune than what would be best for Jacob and his family.  If Jacob left, who knew what would become of the wealth that he gained?

Even though we are not finishing this story today, it is important to remember that no matter what the motives of the people around us are, God has a plan for each and every one of us.  We can trust that even if we are surrounded by people who have motives that please only their own desires, God is with us.  We need to keep our focus on the truth that He loves us and is faithful, which will help keep our motives pure when we are in a difficult situation.  We don't need to be intimidated by a person who seems more powerful, we can continue to be honest and do what God wants us to do.

Are you motivated by God's desires?   Do you trust that He knows what is best and is faithful?

This post is linked with Faith Filled Friday.


  1. The older I get the more I trust. Maybe because I've seen God "work things for my good" so often that even when it looks like I lose, I'm really winning. My desires seem insignificant in light of His. This is so good and we need to be reminded that God way is better than what we perceive to be good.

    1. Amen, Pamela! And is such a Biblical concept that we win when we lose to ourselves.


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