And he said, Come in, you blessed of the LORD; why stand you without? for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels.
Wherefore standest thou without? The character of Laban has been well explained by Blunt in his ' Coincidences.' It is one of consistent greed. He was sincere in inviting Eliezer because he saw the bracelets on his sister's hand, and expected still further favors from a guest who can so lavishly bestow gifts. Christ asks us to enter his kingdom, but he expects nothing from us in return but love. We may adapt this inquiry of Laban to souls as yet outside the Church.
I. THE POSITION OCCUPIED. "Without." Probably they have no realized pardon, no enjoyment in religion, no future prospects of joy. Life is a dread mystery to them. They are saying, "Who will show us any good?" They may be just awakened spiritually, like the Philippian jailor. They may be under the condemnings of law and conscience, and in dread of the consequences of sin. Those within the true Church know in whom they have believed, and rejoice in forgiveness and the prospect of heaven. They are no longer outside the gates of mercy. We may be in a visible Church without being of Christ's fold. It is penitence, faith, and character that determine our position, and not birth, rank, or ceremonial observances.
II. THE REASONS WHEREFORE MANY RETAIN A POSITION OUTSIDE THE CHURCH.
1. Accustomed to the state, and unwilling to change. They are like the prisoner who, after many years' imprisonment in the Bastile, was liberated, and went forth only to find all his friends gone and himself a mere burden to society. He went back and entreated to be allowed to retain his cell until he should pass out of the world.
2. Many, because they are ignorant of the fullness of Divine mercy.
3. Others, because they think there is so much to be done ere they can be fitted to be received within, and are looking to their own efforts to prepare themselves.
4. Many, because they fear their opportunity of admittance is past.
5. Others, because undecided as to whether they shall give up the pleasures of the world for the privileges of Christian fellowship.
6. Others, because they lack faith in their faith and its power to justify.
7. Many stand outside because they think themselves as secure outside as within. They forget that Christ demands open confession, and that to be united openly, to his Church is one way of confessing his name before men. Let there be a personal and searching inquiry, "Wherefore standest thou without?" The invited guest passed within, and found his highest expectations more than realized, because God "had prospered his journey." - H.
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said, Come in, thou blessed of the LORD; wherefore standest thou without? for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels.