Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 28/260: Jacob

Read Genesis 29:15-30

The Deceiver Deceived

Karma, or “moral causation,” is basically the idea that “what goes around comes around.” It is a fundamental teaching in both Buddhism and Hinduism, but has permeated many other religions as well as the everyday life of many who are not religiously active. In Buddhist and Hindu theology, both of which involve some sort of reincarnation, one’s actions in this life will determine the quality of their existence in their next life.

Obviously, the Scriptures do not teach that one will come back and live another life of flesh-and-blood existence after he dies. “And it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Yet, the idea of “what goes around comes around” is not entirely foreign to inspiration.

Consider the words of Paul, who wrote, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Galatians 6:7-8; cf. 2 Corinthians 9:6). No, our good and bad deeds will not follow us to the “next life” in the sense of reincarnation (rather they will follow us to the Judgment), but in this very life we will reap good and bad consequences based on what we choose to do.

What does this have to do with Jacob? Consider what we know about him prior to coming to Laban’s house in Haran. He had taken advantage of his brother Esau in a time of need and secured the birthright that rightly belonged to his brother. Then he deceived his father Isaac to steal Esau’s blessing. His life was marked with selfishness and dishonesty, using others to get ahead.

And now, Laban does the same to Jacob, tricking him into seven years of labor to receive a wife; Jacob thought he was working for Rachel’s hand in marriage, but woke up the day after his wedding to find Leah as his mate. Jacob was understandably upset about his uncle’s deception and had to work another seven years to marry Rachel.

Jacob, a man whose life to this point had been about deception, was now the victim. “What goes around comes around.” Or, “whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” What are you sowing?

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