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THE DECEIVER IS DECEIVED BY THE DECEIVER

A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS

25 JULY 1993

By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES:

Genesis 29:13-30
Matthew 7:9-12
            13:33

Last week we talked about Jacob's flight from his brother Esau to the home of his uncle Laban, and the encounter he had with the Lord, along the way, at Bethel.

We also saw how Jacob didn't fully believe the Lord's covenant with him, about making a great nation of him, and how he tried to bargain with the Lord, which is not what the Lord desires us to do.

We are to simply believe, and then follow through on our belief with our walk of faith in and with the Lord our God.

Today we are going to look again at a segment of Jacob's life, but this time at Laban's house in the land of Aram. (Genesis 29:13-30)

And this time, we are going to see the deceiver, Jacob, deceived by the deceiver, Laban.

13. So it came about, when Laban heard the news of Jacob his sister's son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him and kissed him, and brought him to his house. Then he related to Laban all these things [about how he came to be there].

14. And Laban said to him, "Surely you are my bone and my flesh." And he stayed with him a month.

So far, it seems like the beginning of a wonderful family relationship, doesn't it?

But let's see how long it continues; for a family reflects the true character of the family members, as the church reflects the true character of its members.

15. Then Laban said to Jacob, "Because you are my relative, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?"

16. Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.

17. And Leah's eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful of form and face.

18. Now Jacob loved Rachel, so he said, "I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel."

To serve for seven years seems somewhat excessive for a dowry, and perhaps Jacob said this in order to impress Laban, thinking he would reduce it and still give him his daughter.

So, what happened?

19. And Laban said, "It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to another man; stay with me."

20. So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her.

Laban didn't reduce the time, and Jacob did honor his obligation, and things still seem to be going very well between them.

But now that the seven years are fulfilled, let's see what happens.

21. Then Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife, for my time is completed, that I may go in to her."

22. And Laban gathered all the men of the place, and made a feast.

23. Now it came about in the evening that he took his daughter Leah, and brought her to him; and Jacob went in to her.

24. Laban also gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah as a maid.

25. So it came about in the morning that, behold, it was Leah! And he said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served with you? Why then have you deceived me?"

Jacob took advantage of the weaknesses of others in order to deceive them, as he deceived his brother out of his birthright, and as he deceived his father into thinking that he was his brother, so that he could steal his blessing.

And here Laban is using Jacob's weakness of love to deceive him: first to work for him for seven years, and then to give him his older daughter.

But this deception doesn't end here.

26. But Laban said, "It is not the practice in our place, to marry off the younger before the first­born.

But Laban never told this to Jacob beforehand.

And telling him after the fact does not justify what he did. Laban is still a deceiver.

Jacob is beginning to understand what he did to others, for it is now happening to him.

Now, let's listen to Laban's next plan:

27. "Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also for the service which you shall serve with me for another seven years."

Not only did Laban catch Jacob with a left hook, but now he's hit him with a right upper-cut. And there's not much Jacob can do about it.

While deception isn't as physically violent as a boxing match, it does even more damage to the person's emotions.

He's been deceived again, and he's hardly been able to take a breath in between.

28. And Jacob did so and completed her week, and he gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife.

29. Laban also gave his maid Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maid.

30. So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and indeed he loved Rachel more than Leah, and he served with Laban for another seven years.

Leah is caught in the middle of this deception, for she didn't disclose who she was to Jacob when she had every opportunity to do so before they consummated their marriage.

Perhaps Leah did this out of jealousy, or just to be obedient to her father; but by her actions, she became a party to the conspiracy.

But what about Rachel? She obviously knew about the wedding. Why then didn't she tell Jacob? Was she also part of the deception?

She obviously didn't love Jacob as much as he loved her, or she wouldn't have allowed this to happen.

And for him to do such a thing, Laban could not have fully loved his daughters.

Thus, the whole family is now embroiled in this situation of deception; for deception has been, and continues to be, a way of life for them.

In Matthew 7:9-11, there is a passage that assumes that even evil people will do good things for their children.

But Laban, by his actions, hasn't done that, particularly in the case of Leah.

Let's listen to what Jesus says in these Matthew verses:

9. "Or what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone?

10. "Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?

But this is the kind of unloving thing that Laban is doing.

However, Jesus is not addressing the Labans of this world; He's addressing the believers, but note carefully what He says next:

11. "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

We all sin; but at the same time, a true believer knows the difference between right and wrong, and usually seeks to do what is right. It is to these people that Jesus is speaking.

Now, Laban did give his daughters maids; but at the same time, he also put them in a position where they were sure to become rivals, which is not doing good, or giving a good gift.

And Jacob had not been doing any better.

If we live this way, it will come back upon our own heads; or if we do what is right, then that will also come back upon us, just as Jesus says in verse 12. (Matthew 7:12)

12. "Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Or we might say, if we do unto others in love, as we wish them to do unto us, we have obeyed all the commandments of the Lord.

But this also says that as we treat others, we can expect to be treated.

Now, I have heard some people say, “If I don't do this first, they are going to do it to me.” This assumes that all activity in the world is based on evil intent.

But not everyone in the world is of the world system. Many are of heaven, just sojourning here upon the earth; and for them, living by this evil standard should be rejected completely.

We must realize that the "golden rule" is a two-way street, and that only one way is according to God's will.

Jesus spoke a parable in Matthew 13:33.

33. . . . “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three pecks of meal, until it was all leavened.”

Usually, in the Bible, "leaven" refers to sin; and both Jacob and Laban tried to hide their evil leaven under the garments of being "a nice guy"; but inside they had evil intent, nevertheless.

This is deception!

And in the course of time everything around them was affected by their inner self.

This is why we must be born again, so that the lump of sin within us will be changed into a heart of love.

And when the inner and outer self are both of true love, not a limited love, but a love that extends to the whole of creation, others around us become infected with Godly love.

In essence, we are all contagious. And as with a contagious disease, we try to isolate it.

The majority of the people, who are infected with evil, try to lock up the believers of the world or infiltrate them, so that they can become infected with their evil.

And their evil brings death – everlasting death.

What they don't realize, and what others who associate with them don't realize, or want to accept, is that what they are locking out of their lives is the cure.

We who are truly born again are filled with a type of leaven that just grows and grows and will overflow us every time we open up to others.

And it is this overflowing love that can and does heal the world around us, because our love is unlimited.

To us, this is the only way we can truly know if a person is really born again.

Don't compromise or contaminate your love with the evil ways of the world, or you will become infected with their evilness.

Reject that evilness and spread your love over the infected areas of our society until it is healed.

That is what God kept doing with Jacob, and he eventually came around.

We who know the truth are here to do God's healing work.

Don't allow yourself to be deceived by the deceivers of this world into thinking that you can't make a difference, for you can.

Simply go forth in love, even to overflowing, and watch the evilness around you being washed away.

It may not happen completely, immediately, but we can be sure it is working; and over a period of time, with our constant application of love, healing does occur.

True love always brings peace to the world and never harms a fellow human being, other animals, or the world in which we all live.

Spread your love and heal the deception of this world.

Amen.

Your Comments are welcome

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