The Sin of Greed Exemplified (Gen 31:17-55)
The sin of greed can be manifested in many forms. Modern tactics which play on the greed of man include: scams, marketing schemes, etc. If we are content, we would not fall into these tactics. Often greed is not found in the poor but the rich who are not satisfied with what they already have. There are those who suffer loss through gambling and would continue to lose in their attempt to recover their loss. The sin of greed is deadly and it destroys many.
Genesis 31:17-55 has many lessons, one of which is about the sin of greed. In Genesis 31:41, Jacob had been with Laban for about 20 years, and he was about to uproot his family and return to Canaan as part of his vow to God for protecting him. When Jacob first arrived in Haran, he had nothing. But God, through His miraculous way, provided him with plenty and multiplied his cattle. But Rachel and Leah were not content with what God had provided for them. An expression of Rachel and Leah’s greed in wanting more is found in the conversation in Genesis 31:15-16, and in Rachel’s action in Genesis 31:19 where Rachel stole the images from her father Laban. The images were not just gods but were rights to the father’s inheritance which were never part of an inheritance for Rachel and Leah.
Genesis 31:35: Rachel, hiding the images, lied to Jacob and Laban because of her greed for the inheritance.
Genesis 31:25: When Laban pursued after Jacob, Laban was more interested in the images of gods than in his family. This is another expression of his greed.
Genesis 31:36: Jacob was angry with Laban for pursuing after him.
Genesis 31:44: They set up a pillar of stone, gathered stones, made a heap, ate a meal to seal a covenant. The heap was a witness between Jacob and Laban, i.e. Laban would not hurt Jacob, and Jacob would not return to claim Laban’s inheritance. This contract was borne out of greed and lack of trust for one another.
As Christians bearing a good testimony, we must be willing to sacrifice. Singaporeans are known for being materialistic, but Christians must not fall into this trap of greed. We must not compare with one another, for it leads to jealousy, greed, and envy. 1 Timothy 6:6: “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” Our gain is in Christ, and in Him we have true divine contentment. Beware of the sin of greed.