What you get depends upon what you’ve got – Got Jesus?

Published 6:22 am Saturday, November 24, 2018

You wouldn’t think a celebrity hostess with exquisite recipes and perfect centerpieces would have much in common with a retired general. Yet both Martha Stewart and Michael Flynn are felons—each pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI.

But that’s where the similarity ends—lying to the FBI means different things for the two. Martha Stewart served time in federal prison, but Harvard Law expert Alex Whiting told the Boston Globe, “It’s virtually certain that Flynn will not spend a day in jail.” 

How could that be when the Globe also reported that Flynn had lied to the FBI at least four times and may have violated other laws?  Apparently, that’s the point. Whiting said, “The fact that Flynn…[has] just one count of lying suggests…[he] has very significant information to provide.”

In other words, what you get may depend on what you’ve got.

Flynn’s situation is small potatoes compared to a dangerous scene in Scripture—Jacob’s life depends wholly on what he has. Here’s what happened.

Of the 50 chapters in Genesis, almost 40 are devoted to Abraham’s family. We first see Abraham in chapter 11 as he migrates from what is now Iraq to Turkey to what will become Israel.

But when it’s time for his son to marry, Abraham sends his servant back to his family in Turkey to find a bride for Isaac. Likewise, Isaac will send his son Jacob to Turkey for the same reason.

Jacob lives there 20 years, working for his uncle Laban and marrying both his daughters. But then things get dicey.

Laban had struck a bargain with Jacob on how they would divide the sheep, and Jacob had come out way ahead. Laban forgets that he had been the poor relation before Jacob arrived—it was Jacob who’d made Laban wealthy. And Jacob had stayed with Laban even though his uncle had cheated him 10 times. But Jacob now sees his uncle’s resentment. Moreover, Laban’s sons were saying, “Jacob has taken all that was our father’s…[and] gained all this wealth.” So God tells Jacob to go. Genesis 30:25-31:16

While Laban is away sheering sheep, Jacob gathers his family and belongings and flees. As soon as Laban learns of the deceit, he and his kinsmen take off after them. 

Apparently, Laban chases them furiously, arriving on the 7th day.

Laban says to Jacob, “Why did you flee secretly and trick me…you have done foolishly.” He then adds these sinister words. “It is within my power to do you harm.” Genesis 31:26-28

What does that mean? Is Laban determined to break his legs, slice off his fingers, kill Jacob? 

But this is Laban’s mentality. He looks over Jacob’s wives, children, and all of his flocks, and Laban says, “All that you have is mine.”  Genesis 31:43.

What happens? On every one of those six days of the chase, Laban’s intent at best is to send Jacob away empty-handed and, at worst, to kill him. Genesis 31:42

But on the night before Laban reaches Jacob, Laban finds out just exactly what his nephew has. And that determines the younger man’s destiny.

Many agree with Whiting, expecting Flynn will get little or no time when he’s sentenced on December 18, believing Flynn has something. But what Jacob had was far greater.

What was that?

Here we go: The night before Laban reaches Jacob, the Lord tells Laban to stand down, and Laban fears God. Boom! Jacob had the blessing of the Almighty! Genesis 31:24, 42, 28:15

“When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7

If you can’t get something worked out in your business, with your neighbors, in your church, with your family, take it to the Lord. Live a life pleasing in His eyes, and God will help you.

Listen to me: When what you get depends on what you’ve got. Make sure you’ve got Jesus.

© 2018 R.A. Mathews   The Rev. R.A. Mathews is a freelance faith columnist and the author of “Reaching to God: Great Truths from the Bible.”