by Mary Vee
Rachel set a tray of food down for Jacob. "Here's your lunch."
Jacob smiled. "Sit with me for a while. Do you have time?"
Rachel brushed her hair out of her face. "Sure. What's going on."
"I'm excited about you meeting my mom, dad, and brother." Jacob picked up an olive. "I'm thinking, though, I should have told Laban we were leaving. I'd probably be mad if my daughters and grandchildren suddenly left without saying good bye."
"Don't be concerned." Rachel touched his hand. "I support you in your decision. Father has been unfair to you all these years."
Jacob glanced at the road. He noticed a cloud of dust. "Someone is traveling toward us. There moving fast." He squinted. I hope that isn't Laban.
He stood and watched the cloud grow closer. "Oh, no. I'd recognize those camels anywhere. It's Laban all right."
Rachel's eyes grew wide. "Father? He's here? Um, excuse me, Jacob, I need to um, to hide, I mean take care of something." She ran for her tent as Laban and his men stopped outside their camp.
Laban slid off his camel and approached Jacob. His face grew red and he balled his fist. "Why did you flee with my daughters and grandchildren?
Jacob sighed. "In truth, I was afraid you'd take your daughters away from me by force even though they are my wives."
"But did you have to steal my gods?"
Jacob's jaw dropped. "Your what? No one took your gods. We carefully packed only our things." Does he really think I'd be crazy enough to take something that was his? Jacob shook his head. "Tell you what. You can search everything I have, if you find your gods you can kill the thief. Go search. Show me or anyone else here in my camp the stolen items you find."
Laban stuck his head high. "All right, I will." He signaled his sons and his servants to help him search.
Jacob noticed Rachel peaking her head out of her tent. Why is she hiding from him?
Laban flung back Jacob's tent flap. He threw blankets, tables, pitchers, and clothes around then he huffed over to Leah's tent. He growled at her as he threw her furniture, clothing, and jewels on the floor. "Where are they? Where have you hidden them?"
Leah ran to Jacob with tears dripping down her face. "What is he looking for?"
Jacob held her close. "His gods."
Laban stomped to the two maid's tents, threw things around then walked over to Rachel's tent. Jacob inched closer to her tent then held his finger to his lips to hush the children.
Jacob leaned closer to hear her soft voice. "Excuse me for not getting up, Father. I'm not well." Seconds later Laban whipped open her tent flap.
He didn't find anything. The nerve of him throwing our things around and accusing my family of stealing!
Jacob stomped over to Laban. "Are you satisfied? What is my crime? You searched everything. Where are the stolen items, hmmm? Lay them out here before all of us so I can be judged before this camp."
Jacob threw out his arms and stepped closer. "I served you for twenty years and bore any loss from your herd. I worked while thirsty, cold, and tired. I served you with every bit of my strength, yet, I'm convinced had God not been with me you would have taken everything I earned."
Laban folded his arms. "Everything here is mine." He glanced at each grandchild then turned back to Jacob. "Let's make a promise."
They made a pillar of rocks and promised to not bother each other. Laban arose, kissed his children and his daughters good bye then went home.
Have you figured out what Rachel's secret is? What problem did her secret cause? If you would like help finding the answer, read Genesis 31: 31-43. The answer will also be given in the next story.
Sometimes keeping a secret hurts the people we love.