There was so much deception and mistrust going on within Jacob's family. The unfortunate thing is that it is not unfamiliar to the majority of us.
As Jacob and his family get ready to go back to Jacob's hometown in Genesis 31:19, Rachel decides to pack one more thing - her father's household gods. Rachel's theft goes beyond grabbing a childhood memory for the road. Let's consider the impact this theft may have.
The bottom line in this whole scenario is the fact that Rachel stole something. First and foremost, this violates the Ten Commandments. Exodus 20:15 tells us, "You shall not steal." (NIV)
(While Rachel's mishap occurred before the Ten Commandments were given, we actually can't use that as an excuse.)
Rachel stole from her father
Another important point to consider is the victim of Rachel's crime. She stole from her father. Although we will never know what was going through Rachel's mind at the time, we may wonder why she felt the need to steal anything from her dad. Couldn't she just ask him? Would he have denied her?
While we may experience some challenges with our natural parents, we do have a supernatural father who will provide us with everything that we need. Psalm 34:10 tells us, "The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing." (NIV) We don't have to steal anything from God.
Rachel stole her father's household gods
Then, we need to think about the items that Rachel stole from her father. In looking at Psalm 34:10, we may be led to believe that the reason Rachel felt the need to steal was because she knew it was something that she shouldn't have.
While Laban may not have denied his daughter's request, we know that Jacob would have. Jacob's God was not one of Laban's gods. Jacob had clearly been a leader in his home with respect to honoring and serving God. He had discussed God with his wives, and had likely taught their children, as well.
Jacob would know that God is a jealous God, and he would not have allowed Rachel to bring idols on the trip.
Why the gods?
It would be interesting to ask Rachel why she felt she needed the gods. Granted, she has watched her husband struggle while working with her father for years. But, at the same time, she has also seen God showed favor to Jacob time and time again. Jacob remained successful regardless of what Laban did to counteract that. So, why would Rachel turn to other gods after seeing what Jacob's God was able to do?
Are we like Rachel? Do we keep turning away from God and toward something else when life gets hard? Do we acknowledge what God has done in our lives, yet keep some other idol on the back burner, just in case?
Or is Rachel trying to hold on to an unnecessary piece of her past? Sometimes, we find it hard to let go of bad habits that are comfortable so that we can move on to bigger and better things.
Whether our bad habit is something that may appear small (such as premium coffee or eating out) or something that is much bigger (such as taking expensive vacations or getting a new car every two or three years), we have to be ready to acknowledge it as a problem. It's time to let it go. If we don't take control now, we will not be able to move forward to the greater things God has in store for us.