Genesis 31:22-32

22 When it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob had fled, 23 then he took his kinsmen with him and pursued him a distance of seven days’ journey, and he overtook him in the hill country of Gilead. 24 God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream of the night and said to him, “Be careful that you do not speak to Jacob either good or bad.”

25 Laban caught up with Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban with his kinsmen camped in the hill country of Gilead. 26 Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done by deceiving me and carrying away my daughters like captives of the sword? 27 “Why did you flee secretly and deceive me, and did not tell me so that I might have sent you away with joy and with songs, with timbrel and with lyre; 28 and did not allow me to kiss my sons and my daughters? Now you have done foolishly. 29 “It is in my power to do you harm, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, `Be careful not to speak either good or bad to Jacob.’30 “Now you have indeed gone away because you longed greatly for your father’s house; but why did you steal my gods?” 31 Then Jacob replied to Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I thought that you would take your daughters from me by force. 32 “The one with whom you find your gods shall not live; in the presence of our kinsmen point out what is yours among my belongings and take it for yourself.” For Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.

It is interesting that God doesn’t just tell Laban not to harm Jacob, or not to say anything bad. God also requires of him that he say nothing good either, so Laban is walking a fine line here. God knew very well that Laban would have tried to bribe Jacob to stay, and may have even forced Jacob to stay had he just asked to leave. Jacob had already tried to leave once, and been convinced to stay for the reward of flocks, which is just what had caused the most recent contention between them. So God wanted to protect Jacob from harm, and also from the temptation of returning for more pay and thus abandoning the will of God. So also does God protect us, not just from harm, but from temptations that we cannot handle.

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