By Mary Vee
Genesis 31: 19-29
"Been kinda quiet lately. Usually one of the grandson's find a way to come for a visit." Laban scratched his beard. "Hope everything's all right."
He shrugged and headed out to the flock. "I'm sure one of them will stop by soon enough. In the meantime I'd better get busy shearing the sheep."
Laban pushed the sleeves of his tunic higher. "Sure is a hot one today." He looked toward the pasture. His servants chased a few sheep who walked away from the flock.
Another servant set down tools he'd gather for the shearing. "Master, did you know that Jacob left a few days ago with his family?"
Laban's jaw flopped open. "He did what?"
The servant cleared his throat. "I'm sorry, I thought you knew. Jacob packed his family and his belongings and headed south."
Laban's heart pounded. His face felt warm. "He took my daughter's and my grandchildren without saying good bye? Why that Jacob--I knew I couldn't trust him. You men, secure these sheep then prepare the camels for a journey."
"Are we going to bring Jacob back to help, Master?"
Laban shook his head. He squinted and balled up his fist. "I'll decide when I get there."
Laban, his sons, and a few servants left right away and rode as quickly as they could, taking breaks only when the animals needed one.
One of the son's urged his camel near Laban's. "The road turns ahead. Do you want to keep heading south or follow the road?"
"Most likely he kept on the road for the safety of his family. Stay on the road."
Five days went by. Laban grumbled at the evening fire. "Where are they? We've searched this road and a distance on either side. We should've caught up to them two day's ago."
The men sat silently. Laban got up and paced near a tree. "We break camp before dawn tomorrow. Be ready. I'll find that Jacob if it's the last thing I do."
That night in a dream Laban heard God speaking, "Be careful not to say anything good or bad to Jacob." When he awoke, chills ran up and down his back. What a dream! I can't believe Jacob's God spoke to me!
The group searched for two more days. They rode as fast as the camels would take them. Shortly after the midday sun, Laban held his hand up to shade his eyes and stared. "What's that up ahead?"
One of his men cocked his head left then right to get a better view. "Looks like travelers with a herd."
Laban urged his camel faster. "That must be them. Hurry! I've got them now."
As they neared Jacob's camp, Laban ordered his men to set up tents for the evening. Once they were settled, Laban rode over to meet with Jacob.
Jacob came out to greet his uncle. "Laban. What are you doing here?"
Laban slipped off his camel and stood quiet for a moment. He looked over at his daughters who held their sons back, away from him. "What right did you have stealing away my daughters and grandsons? You left no word. You simply left without saying goodbye. Why did you flee away secretly and not tell me? I might have sent you away with joy and songs played with musical instruments. You didn't allow me to kiss my grandsons and daughters. You have acted so foolishly. You realize I have the power to do you harm? Fortunate for you, the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying 'Be careful to not speak good or bad to Jacob.'"
Laban is angry with Jacob. Do you think he'll make them go back to his house? Do you think he will hurt them or say mean things to Jacob?
God told Jacob it was time for him to go back to the land He gave his father. But, Jacob didn't want Laban to know he was leaving. He was afraid Laban would trick him into staying again. What could Jacob have done to obey God and to respect Laban?