Jacob became extremely rich whilst working for Laban. First of all, he gained two wives and their maidservants, then he acquired vast flocks, herds, camels, donkeys and servants. As time went by, the inevitable happened - Jacob’s servants started arguing with Laban’s servants and jealousy and envy ensued. And Jacob, rather than seeking to ‘deal with the issue’, decided to secretly leave the area and return to his homeland without even saying “Good-bye”.
However, ‘issues’ rarely disappear or ‘go away’, do they? I think it could be because God doesn’t like deceit or ‘unfinished’ business. Rather, He is into reconciliation and wholeness, peace and love.
Laban chased after and caught up with Jacob and ‘laid into him’ on the pretence of Jacob having stolen something from him. (Actually, Rachel did, but that’s another story!)
The outcome was that Laban thoroughly searched the whole of Jacob’s ‘caravan’ and came up empty. Once Jacob’s innocence was re-established, both Laban and Jacob entered into a Covenant. Basically, Jacob agreed not to take any other wives and both of them agreed to a ‘pact of peace’. Interestingly enough, they invoked God into the agreement, making it an everlasting covenant of peace.
Reconciliation, forgiveness and trust were restored, sacrifices made and peace established. What a magnificent outcome! That’s just what God wants in each of our lives. He longs for an open and vibrant relationship between Himself and us. That is why He sent Jesus to die for us. To restore us to that place of peace and intimacy.
On the Cross, however, Jesus not only made a way to restore the upright relationship with God, He also made a way to restore our relationships with one another – the horizontal relationships.
Yes, God wants us totally reconciled to Him AND to one another. It can only happen by way of the Cross. It can and does only happen that way - we just need to recognise how much we have been forgiven. Then we can ‘give’ back some of that forgiveness to others. It’s the only way to peace!