“When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father’s household gods.” (Genesis 31:19)
What if we had to worry that our God might be stolen from us? What if we had placed so much trust in something made of stone or steel that we were afraid to live without it?
We might call that misplaced faith “Idolatry.” We might call that empty trust “superstition.” We could not call it worship of the living God.
People easily come up with a long list of substitutes for the real God. Superstition is rampant among the human race. Christians are also tempted to fall for it.
It often begins with the feeling that it is Luck or Chance that affects our life. Think of the fuzzy pair of dice that dangle from rearview mirrors. For some, that is a symbol of how life works—it’s a roll of the dice.
People who operate in dangerous circumstances are most likely to resort to superstition. Before a mission, before a takeoff, how many people will check to see if they have that good-luck piece is in their pocket, or around their wrist or neck?
If we ask if they really believe that thing will protect them, some will say, “No, but why should I take the chance? I just feel better if I have it.” Another may tell us, “Look, I have been through some dangerous times with this in my pocket, but came out safe. I believe in this thing.”
What if you asked that buddy to loan you the good-luck piece on the next mission? What if you stole it from him? How do you think he would react?
That’s the way it was with Rachel! That’s the way it was with her father, Laban.
But these were not just some heathen people. Rachel was the wife of Jacob, through whom the Savior would come. Laban was Jacob’s uncle. These were considered to be people of God. If we had asked them, they would have assured us that they were people who trusted in the Lord.
And yet, they treasured idols. And yet, they hesitated to place all of their trust in the Holy One of Israel.
This event is included in the Bible to open the eyes of God’s future people. If that could happen to them, maybe it could happen to us. Maybe it could easily happen to us.
The First Commandment makes it clear: “You shall have no other gods!”
Of course not! There are no other gods. There is only one God. There is only One who controls our life. There is only One who rescues us from evil.
He is the triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And no one can steal him from us.
Eternal God, Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier, we acknowledge that there is no other god. Frustrate the Devil’s efforts to lead us to place our faith in anyone or anything else. Point our superstitions out to us, and draw us back into your family of faith. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military