Rebekah, Jacob, and Laban: what a trio of self serving schemers. They were not unaware of the God of Isaac and Abraham, but appeared to have little faith that that God would be of any use to them. As for the other gods, they served mostly their own interests, and, if anything, pointed the way to those three doing the same.
I’m not so sure that much has changed. The great majority of people acknowledge God in some form. They may know something of the stories of the God of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, but not much. As for the other gods, they are aplenty, and it’s pretty clear that they work for themselves. Even some who attend church are known to have little regard for what God can and does do in the world of everyday life, and that goes for those who claim that nothing happens unless God ordains it. The say it but don’t act like it.
Look out for your self. Do what you can to arrange and control events around you to work for your best interest. Trust, but not too much, because the one in whom you trust will always have a higher priority – his or her own self interest. At its extreme, it’s the Tea Party platform backed by weapons and stand your ground laws.
The one thing that keeps some of my culturally right wing, but church going, friends from committing unequivocally to Christ is the fear of becoming a doormat, stomped on by others, and marked as too cowardly to man up and defend themselves. They can go so far and no farther because they see a world populated almost entirely by Rebekahs, Jacobs, and Labans, the rest are either doormats or strong enough to defend themselves and their rights. They expect to be attacked and scammed at every turn. Oddly enough, they are often such easy targets that it happens.
If they would only turn to Jesus! But many have! In a curious way, accepting Jesus as one’s personal Lord and Savior seems to work as a handy back door that makes it OK to retain, without the least iota of guilt, the cultural imperative to watch out for number one. In fact, since Jesus is one’s personal Lord and Savior, these beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors must be endorsed by him. Right?
I don’t know what became of Rebekah and Laban, but Jacob finally had to give in, after a long battle fought hard, and let God be God, so that centuries later Moses would learn that the Great I Am was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It isn’t easy to follow in those footsteps. No one ever said it would be. Maybe that’s what Paul was getting at in letter to the Romans, especially in the 12th chapter.
Just a thought.