As soon as he saw the ring, and the bracelets on his sister's wrists, and heard Rebekah's words, "The man said this to me," he went and found the man standing by the camels near the spring.
And when he saw the bracelets, &c. One thing moved Laban to offer hospitality to a stranger - the vision of gold on his sister's form.
I. COVETOUSNESS MAKES A MAN CALCULATING WHEN APPEARING TO BE GENEROUS. Laban had not been so pressingly urgent in his invitation if he had not cherished a hope of further advantages. He was a churlish man. He said, "Come in, thou blessed of the Lord," &c., because he saw that which was to him the greatest sign of blessing - wealth. Laban helped the more readily to ungird Eliezer's camels because he hoped thereby to loosen the girdle-purse of his visitor. He had the eye of greed. He could not see anything valuable belonging to another without wishing to possess it.
II. COVETOUSNESS MAKES A MAN, GENERALLY, SHORT-SIGHTED WITH RESPECT TO HIS OWN BEST INTERESTS. Laban gave Eliezer a bad impression of himself. The latter would soon see through such a man as Laban. He showed this when he gave presents not only to the sister and mother, but to the brother (ver. 53). He knew that it would not he advisable to overlook Laban. Eliezer knew he could be bought. Laban, when treating with Jacob, was just as short-sighted. He gave Leah and Rachel to Jacob as wives only after years of service for which he stipulated. He changed Jacob's wages ten times. Through his greed he at last lost Jacob. He confessed how great a helper Jacob had been. "The Lord hath blessed me for thy sake" (Genesis 30:27). Jacob would not tarry with him, and even the daughters were glad enough to get away from such a father. Covetousness is opposed to our temporal and eternal interests. We lose by it the respect of others here and of God hereafter.
III. COVETOUSNESS IS EVER INDIFFERENT TO THE RIGHTFUL CLAIMS OF OTHERS. It will ignore those claims altogether, if possible.
1. We find Laban thus ignored the influence of his father throughout the whole transaction. Perhaps Bethuel was infirm or aged, but he is, consistently with the character of Laban, thrust into the back- ground. Laban also takes all presents, and there is no mention of any being given to his father.
2. We find also he was in great measure indifferent to the happiness of his sister. He was subtle in tongue, and spoke of the Lord arranging things, but he believed in the arrangement because his family was the gainer. A good chance is offered by the Damascene stranger, and Rebekah soon saw that it was a foregone conclusion that she should go with him. Covetousness will make parents careless as to the physical, mental, and moral well-being of their children, and employers care- less of the state of their servants. It is covetousness also that leads many to spread temptations, too strong to be resisted, before others, and one nation to get rich out of that which is sapping the life-blood of another.
IV. COVETOUSNESS NEVER SATISFIES, AND OFT MAKES MEN MOST MISERABLE. "He that is greedy of gain troubleth his house." "Envy is rottenness to the bones." Misers perish in the midst of plenty. Riches possessed, the desire for more is generally intensified. The desire is no more checked than a lamp is extinguished by added oil.
V. COVETOUSNESS IS SURE, SOONER OR LATER, TO BE REBUKED. The greed in Laban's eye which glistened at the sight of the golden ornaments on his sister's form deepened with the passage of years. At last, in his pursuit of Jacob, he was rebuked by God in a vision, and afterwards by the man he had wronged. Learn, therefore, that medium prosperity is better than great riches gained by greed. Despise not the comforts of life, but live for something higher. What is gained in the world is speedily gone. If we gain much and ruin our souls, we shall not only be rejected by God, but shall bitterly condemn ourselves. - H.
I being in the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master's brethren.
Where did this man want to go? To "the house of his master's brethren." Then he had a master! We all have. No one is his own master. There are two great masters — Jesus and Satan. Can we serve both? No; for they work against one another. The one pulls up what the other plants, and plants what the other pulls up; and no one can serve two masters whose ways are so contrary. Which is your master? If it is not Jesus, it must be Satan. A master you must have; oh, let it be Jesus I This master has many brothers. "I being in the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master's brethren." A rich little boy was boasting one day to a poor little boy about his, great relatives, and said at last, "My uncle is a lord." "So is my brother," said the poor boy. "Your brother a lord!" said the other, scornfully; "pray, what is he called?" "He is called the Lord Jesus," was the answer. Yes; Jesus is the Brother of every one who has the same spirit, the same heart, that He has. You can be His brother, or His sister; and oh! is it not grand to think that our elder Brother is the King of earth and heaven! These brothers of Jesus have a house. "The Lord led me to the house of my master's brethren." Where is that house? It is the church. Every church is a house of the Master's brethren; and if you are in the Lord's way, you will most surely be led there very often. Yes, but they do not stay there always. There is another, a greater house and a finer one, into which they are led by and by. It is like this: When people are invited to go to the palace and be presented to the queen, they come up from all parts of the country and from beyond the seas; but they do not go straight to the palace. No; they first take up their abode in some house in the city, and there they wait till the day comes when they are to be presented to the queen, and then they leave the house they stayed in for the time, and go into the palace and see the queen. It is the same with the Master's brethren — with the Lord's brothers; they wait first in the earthly house of God, and then, when the time comes, one after another is called to go and see the King — and the King is Jesus! They find, as Joseph's brothers found, that He is their very own Brother who has all the power! How did this man the text speaks of get to the house of his master's brethren? It was by putting himself in the way. "I being in the way." That is the great thing, to get into the way. If I want to find out the road that leads to a distant place, I look up the map, and make inquiries as to whether there is a ferry at this river or a bridge at that, and so try to find out all I can about the road. But does that bring me any nearer to the place I want to go to? No; I am just as far from it as ever. There is but one way I ever can get there, and that is by putting myself on the road and going forward! It is the same with the way to the Master's house on high. The Bible is the map, and it shows us all we need to learn about the way. But we must do something more than study the map; we must go on the way ourselves. What is the way? It is doing what the Bible tells us; it is loving Jesus, and trusting Jesus, and doing things for His sake. It is trying to look on things as Jesus would look on them, and trying to do things as Jesus would do them. That is getting on the way. The way to Jesus is trying to be like Jesus. But how did this man keep the way? You know, many get on the right road at the first, but afterwards, when they come to cross-roads, and roads that lead out of roads, they often go astray. How did this man keep the right way? Because the Lord led him! "I being in the way, the Lord feel me." Yes; and when we are on the way to the house of the Master's brethren, the Lord Himself goes with us, and leads us. We may not see Him, but He sees us. How does He lead us? Oh, in a thousand different fashions! When you do wrong, is not there something inside you that tells you you have done wrong? That is the Lord trying to lead you right. It is the Lord who whispers in your heart sometimes, saying, "Do not do that!" or, "Do not go there, it is wrong!" or, "Do this!" or, "Go there, that is right!" He is then leading you. And so this man got to the house of his master's brethren; and so will you, by putting yourself in the way — the way of love to Jesus, the way of trusting Him and praying to Him. Do this, and the Lord will lead you, step by step, till He brings you to the house of many mansions.
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