January 26; Quick To Judge

Genesis 33-35

Wow. People are so eager to think the worst of Jacob. I read what several Bible scholars had to say about these chapters in Genesis and heard some call him a liar, a deceiver, a man who took advantage of people for his own gain. Some say he probably smiled while lying to Esau’s face, knowing he had no intentions of following his brother anywhere. Others suggest he pitched his tent right inside the Promised Land so it would technically be obeying God. But what he was really doing was taking advantage of the thriving commerce close by so that he could get richer and richer. Some criticized Jacob for being a weak and indulgent father, and that’s why Dinah was promiscuous, and her brothers were able to murder so many people, then justify their brutality by saying, “They deserved it.”

Now, I don’t know what Jacob was thinking any more than the next guy. But as far as his so-called deception of Esau – I don’t see it. I don’t read where Jacob said anything like: “Thanks, Bro. I should be home next Thursday,” then headed north like he’d planned all along. In fact, Jacob DID eventually go home. And I don’t read that Esau acted like a man who’d been deceived yet again.

Maybe – just maybe – Jacob thought about it, then realized the land couldn’t sustain both his and Esau’s holdings, so he turned north to be sure he didn’t infringe on Esau’s territory.

Maybe – just maybe – he’s settled just inside the Promised Land because his little family were exhausted and needed somewhere to call home. Maybe Jacob took the first opportunity to get settled so he COULD go home to see his dad and brother.

I’m not even going to try to defend Jacob’s parenting skills. But I’m also not going to assume Dinah was “asking for it,” when she went to make friends of the women.

You might say I’m way off base because none of that is recorded in Scripture. And you might be right. Scripture doesn’t tell us Jacob’s thoughts and motives. So why believe the worst?

I don’t now why this matters to me. Except we are told not to judge, aren’t we? I can see Jacob’s sins demanding God’s judgment. But I can’t judge his heart or his motives unless Scripture lets me in on those details.

So, think what you want to think about Jacob. He may have still been the deceiving, lying, self-seeking guy he was in his youth. But maybe he wasn’t.

Maybe that guy who went forward last Sunday to give his heart to the Lord is still the mean drunk he was before. But maybe he isn’t.

Maybe that lady who claims to have found Jesus is still the lying manipulator she always was. But maybe she isn’t.

I don’t know. But maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to judge.

 

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