Genesis 31:22-30 (NLT)
22 Three days later, Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 23 So he gathered a group of his relatives and set out in hot pursuit. He caught up with Jacob seven days later in the hill country of Gilead. 24 But the previous night God had appeared to Laban the Aramean in a dream and told him, �I�m warning you�leave Jacob alone!� 25 Laban caught up with Jacob as he was camped in the hill country of Gilead, and he set up his camp not far from Jacob�s. 26 �What do you mean by stealing away like this?� Laban demanded. �How dare you drag my daughters away like prisoners of war? 27 Why did you slip away secretly? Why did you steal away? And why didn�t you say you wanted to leave? I would have given you a farewell feast, with singing and music, accompanied by tambourines and harps. 28 Why didn�t you let me kiss my daughters and grandchildren and tell them good-bye? You have acted very foolishly! 29 I could destroy you, but the God of your father appeared to me last night and warned me, �Leave Jacob alone!� 30 I can understand your feeling that you must go, and your intense longing for your father�s home. But why have you stolen my gods?�
Jacob had been told by God to leave the land of his uncle and father-in-law, Laban, and return to his homeland. Over the years, Laban had taken advantage of his son-in-law Joseph; but God prospered Joseph in everything he did. Joseph and his family secretly left. Laban chased after Joseph and his family. One reason it was thought he was in such hot pursuit of Joseph was that Rachel had stolen her father�s idols; perhaps not for the rich metals or what they represented, but that it gave her a right to establish a future claim to the headship of the family and the possessions of the family. Labal perhaps thought Joseph was trying to take all Laban had.
Laban goes through a long list of complaints. He complains to Joseph about slipping off secretly, taking away his family, not giving a proper farewell, and not allowing him to say goodbye to his family. Then Labon gets to the heart of his complaint, �Why have you stolen my gods?�
Is this scenario familiar to you: a complaint is made, but it is not what the real issue is about? Then finally after some arguing and confrontation the true problem is revealed? Most people are afraid to address an issue straight on so they attack other things close to the issue. None of them are the true problem and so the confrontation grows even hotter because more than one complaint is lodged. Each of us has probably been at fault for this somewhere in our life. Pray we would learn to be honest with others in a way that is non-threatening. Pray we could learn to live through the power of God and not out of the fear we have for others.