Genesis 31:30-37: ‘Be careful little lips…’

“30 Now you have gone off because you longed to return to your father’s household. But why did you steal my gods?” 31 Jacob answered Laban, “I was afraid, because I thought you would take your daughters away from me by force. 32 But if you find anyone who has your gods, that person shall not live. In the presence of our relatives, see for yourself whether there is anything of yours here with me; and if so, take it.” Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the gods. 33 So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent and into the tent of the two female servants, but he found nothing. After he came out of Leah’s tent, he entered Rachel’s tent. 34 Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them inside her camel’s saddle and was sitting on them. Laban searched through everything in the tent but found nothing. 35 Rachel said to her father, “Don’t be angry, my lord, that I cannot stand up in your presence; I’m having my period.” So he searched but could not find the household gods. 36 Jacob was angry and took Laban to task. “What is my crime?” he asked Laban. “How have I wronged you that you hunt me down? 37 Now that you have searched through all my goods, what have you found that belongs to your household? Put it here in front of your relatives and mine, and let them judge between the two of us.” NIV

A children’s chorus, probably from my Sunday School days, comes back to me:

‘Be careful little eyes what you see…be careful little ears what you hear…be careful little hands what you do…be careful little feet where you go…’ Each line is repeated twice, then followed by the words: ‘There’s a Father up above who is looking down in love, so be careful little….etc.’

But there is another line which goes: ‘Be careful little lips what you say…’  Words are powerful. Once spoken they cannot be unspoken. They can bless, but they can also blow up in your face. When Jacob asserted his innocence he was of course expressing a clean conscience re the theft of the gods (By the way, who would find much security in a god that could be nicked?!!) However the extreme statement in (32a) might have come back to haunt him. But for Rachel duping her father, who knows what the outcome might have been? The story of discreditable behaviour goes on, but in it all God was working out His eternal purposes and looking after His own. It clearly was a matter of grace, because they weren’t earning his His goodness by exemplary conduct.

Thought: ‘God has given us one mouth that closes and two ears that don’t; this should tell us something!’

PRAYER: Lord, please help me to ‘’be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry’’ (James 1:19)