Laban and Bethuel are well known Bible characters. They are the brother and father of Rebekah, Isaac's wife. In Genesis 24:50, it is noted that after hearing Eliezer's story, Laban and Bethuel accepted Rebekah's marriage to Isaac as the will of God. When Eliezer heard this he worship God and gave costly gifts to Rebekah and to her brother and mother. The interesting part came the next day. Before the family received the gifts, they agreed that Rebekah is meant to become Isaac's wife. In fact in verse 51, we heard them say “take her and go”. However, the next day Laban and the mother showed signs of hesitation. Just four verses after saying take her and go, they soon said “Let the girl remain with us ten days or so, then you may go”. Laban and the mother wanted to delay Eliezer. There were no signs that Bethuel tried to stop Rebekah but his silence showed that he has no intention in keeping what he said earlier.
I find this story somewhat ridiculous but is is also a reflection of how we react to God's calling. When God calls us, he always do so with a promise. Just as when God calls Abram with a promise (Genesis 12:1-3) he also calls us with a promise.
In this situation, Rebekah's family received blessings for accepting God's will. However when the moment of truth came, when it was time to give their beloved Rebekah, they hesitated. This is true for many of us. We want God's blessing but we want to avoid God's will because we know that it is going to require obedience. Of course it is a considerable fact that Rebekah's family are the antagonists of the story but they are still part of the family. They are a reflection on how some children of God accepts blessings and avoids the process.
In our Christian life, we are usually face with a lot of choices. Some seems to be of a minor value but are really choices that determines the character. The same is seen in the history of the Israelites. The Israelites are bless as long as they are living righteous lifestyle. However, living a life pleasing to God requires sacrifice and letting go of the things that the law condemns. According to the Bible they failed a thousand times. The same is true for many of us. Deep in our hearts we want to be blessed but deep in our hearts we want to be blessed without a price. I realize that life as a Christian requires the specific choice to die to self. However, thank be to God, the strength to accomplish what God requires came from him. The choice remains to be ours.
In relation to this, I want to cite a personal example. I had Zoology 21 as one of my college's subject. I hated the subject so much that I didn't pass the midterm. As the final week approach, I tripled my effort and was able to pass the two test. If I pass the last test, I at least had the chance to get the passing grade of 3.0. As the day of the exam approach, I tried to pray but I can't and I know why. I had been relying on my own strength and had been falling on the same temptation. I want God to bless me but I must face the fact that my heart is condemning me. I had sinned. I feel so selfish and a hypocrite. I struggled with myself and tried to make excuses. I want God's blessing but I also desire to go on with my sin. Isn't that what many Christians are experiencing today? Max Lucado, in his book “Experiencing The Heart of Jesus”, pointed out that the most miserable person in the world is the Christian who disobeys God. Based on experience, I know he was right. I was miserable during this time. I ran after idols but when I realized that I'm in a difficult situation, I prayed not to my idols but to Jesus. I prayed to the one I refused to follow. I pierced myself with much sorrow and end up with thoughts of self-pity and despair. This happened all because I want God's Blessing but is not willing to accept God's plan.
But then again, aren't I continually receiving God's Blessing? Aren't I, while struggling with God, still blessed with oxygen to Breath? I act as if passing Zoology 21 is the most important gift that God could give when in fact I have already receive Jesus, the Greatest Gift God has ever given. The test passed by and it has been a few days. Right now, while writing this, I have no idea of whether I passed or not. If I passed, I'll go on. If not, well I'll retake the subject. That is all. It wasn't the most important thing in my life.
However this sort of problem will not be the last. God will continually prove to me that I am nothing without Him. I will continually go to him in good times and much more in bad times. Temporary pleasure is not worth anything. As we continually go to him, let us remember that whatever we ask, He is capable to give. Whatever He commands, He commands because he has blessed us enough to know that we are able to accomplish. It may seem difficult but let us remember that with man it is impossible but with God all things are Possible.
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
(1 Corinthians 10:13)