My early morning readings have been taking me through the story of Jacob in the Bible book of Genesis (basically 25 – 35).

While I know that Jacob (his name means “deceiver”) ends up on the good end of the scale, the rest seems a little off-kilter.  I’ve heard these stories since I was a kid. 

This time I’m trying to let the story flow.  In the story, I’m up to Jacob leaving his father-in-law behind, after 20 years of working for him.  In most government cases this would give you a good pension.  

And so Jacob had gained just that!  He had flocks – gained by deception some would say.  He had wives given to him through his father-in-law’s deception.  He was living with his father-in-law because he had deceived his brother.  His mother had put him up to the deception.  Jacob’s wife now deceives her father about valuable idols she has stolen from him.  The father-in-law, Laban, felt he owned the wealth and wives of Jacob,even though he was the deceiver.

At the place of reckoning – where Jacob and Laban met with deadly intentions in the air – the two sit down and compromise.

Just reading the story, once again for the very first time, I wonder what each man was trying to gain.  No war, of course.  Unwritten acceptance that Jacob had his rights and that Laban would have to release  his children and wealth.

Now, I know the rest of the story!  But if I didn’t, I think I would want to read on.  Jacob is fleeing from his in-laws.  He’s headed back to where he was an outlaw 20 years ago – with his own family.  Everything he does is built on deception.  At this point in the story, the only way forward is down.  On his own he’s about to end up either dead, or second class.

And maybe that’s the point?  On his own, he’s in trouble.  But is there another way?

That’s what I like about the Bible.  There’s always another way – maybe not what we want – but the better option, nonetheless!

Let’s see where this goes.