One of my favorite stories in Genesis is the account of Jacob and his struggle to start a family. Jacob falls madly in love with the beautiful Rachel but is made to work and wait seven years to marry her only to be tricked by his father in law, Laban, into marrying her less than lovely sister, Leah. He eventually also takes Rachel as a wife but continues in a power struggle with Laban. Talk about reality show material - multiple wives, indentured servitude, trickery and eventual escape.
While Jacob, Leah and Rachel are on the run from Laban, the girls' father finally catches up with them and accuses Jacob of stealing the family idols - small statues representing the many gods this family worshiped. It was common in those days that these idols be part of the household goods and kept just so. They were valuable not only as material goods but as objects of worship. Jacob vehemently denies stealing these idols, especially because he only worshiped the one true God of his father, Isaac. Little did he know that Rachel took the goods and sat upon them while her father searched all of their tents.
Sitting on idols. Why did Rachel take the little statues? It was clear her father was power hungry and dishonest - they chose to flee from him after all, so why take the very objects that represented his dysfunction? Somehow Rachel ascribed power to these objects and as much as she desperately wanted to be rid of that life, she was compelled to bring that life with her.
Perhaps she didn't trust this God of Jacob. She loved her husband and admired his faith and the works God had already displayed in his life. But secretly, she had to hold on to what she knew even if it hadn't brought her peace and contentment.
Isn't this the way with all of us? I imagine most of us don't have household statues to worship but there are plenty of other idols in our lives and many have been passed on to us from previous generations. Addictions, compulsive behavior, co-dependency are just a few of the little statues we grab and hold onto when we run away from home. When confronted by a spouse or friend who says, "Hey, are you alright?" We sit on those idols and smile and say we are fine. Deep down we know we are struggling with knowing that God is who He says He is and that we no longer need those old habits or thought patterns.
Faith is believing without seeing. I think Rachel was still depending on her sight at this point in her faith journey. While Jacob had given her glimpses of grace and mercy and she experienced the Lord's favor in the conception and birth of Joseph, she was hadn't quite bought into the promises. As much as I love the Lord and dedicate myself to Him daily, I am constantly reminded of the places in my own life that I haven't given to Him completely. Daily I must allow God the Father to search my tent and instead of sitting on the things I think I can hide from Him, I need to stand and ask Him to take down the idols in my life - whether they be generational or self made.