When the Lord told Jacob to leave Laban and go back home, He explained the situation to his wives, Rachel and Leah. Laban was their father, so this was not just a work-related dispute; it was also a family dispute.
We can see in Genesis 31:6-9 that Jacob "kept his cool" throughout the years of Laban's unfair treatment. Rather than try to tackle this problem himself, he allowed God to fight the battle on his behalf. Psalm 140:12 reminds us, "I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy." (NIV) Let's see how God deals with cheaters.
Success won't last
Laban probably felt pretty good about himself. First, he was able to get 14 years of work out of Jacob in exchange for both of his daughters. To Laban, that was a 100% increase over the original negotiation of seven years. Overall, it was not a bad return.
Then, he attempted to pull off another great negotiation in exchange for Jacob continuing to tend the flock. He thought that the idea of separating the flock by color would work out in his favor. After all, who would expect white sheep and goats to produce colored offspring?
For six years, the white flocks repeatedly produced colored offspring. Seeing something like that would lead us to proclaim, "But God!" Only God could turn a seemingly impossible situation into a possible one. Laban may have thought he would be able to get away with his plot, but God had another plan.
Our ways of cheating may not be as extreme as Laban's, but we can all think of a time where we took advantage of someone's kindness or weakness in order to get ahead. It may have worked temporarily, but it did not go unnoticed. "He thwarts the plans of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success." (Job 5:12 NIV)
Eternity is forever
The worst part is that the suffering is not a temporary thing. If we do not change our sinful ways, the agony will last for eternity. Psalm 37:38 reads, "But all sinners will be destroyed; the future of the wicked will be cut off." (NIV)
God confirms this is Isaiah 57:21, "'There is no peace,' says my God, 'for the wicked.'" (NIV) Is there really any temporal pleasure that is worth an eternity of torment away from God?
It doesn't have to be that way
God is not out to punish us, but He will correct us if we stray from His path. Obedience will keep us from unnecessary heartache and pain. Encouragement is found in Ezekiel 33:14-15. "And if I say to the wicked man, 'You will surely die,' but he then turns away from his sin and does what is just and right - if he gives back what he took in pledge for a loan, returns what he has stolen, follows the decrees that give life, and does no evil, he will surely live; he will not die." (NIV)
Being fair and considerate of others is essential to the Christian body as a whole. Micah tells us what to do. "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8 NIV)
The best part is that there is still time to turn things around. We are not promised tomorrow, so let's begin working toward fairness today.