Mizpah

Years ago, back in high school when we were first dating, my husband gave me a necklace that matched his. There were two pieces of a coin that fit perfectly together, one piece on each chain. It was called a Mizpah coin. The verse that accompanied it was beautiful~ “May the LORD watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other.” (Genesis 31:49) I wore it always, until a wedding ring took its place.

In Genesis 31, Laban caught up with the fleeing Jacob, and confronted him. They had a rather angry verbal exchange, but they arrived at an agreement of sorts.

(Laban) “‘So now come, let us make a covenant, you and I, and let it be a witness between you and me.’ Then Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar. And Jacob said to his kinsmen, ‘Gather stones.’ So they took stones and made a heap, and they ate there by the heap. Now Laban called it Jegarsahadutha, but Jacob called it Galeed. And Laban said, ‘This heap is a witness between you and me this day.’ Therefore it was named Galeed; and Mizpah, for he said, ‘May the LORD watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. If you mistreat my daughters, or take wives besides my daughters, although no man is with us, see, God is witness between you and me.’ And Laban said to Jacob, ‘Behold this heap and behold the pillar which I have set between you and me. This heap is a witness, and the pillar is a witness, that I will not pass by this heap to you for harm, and you will not pass by this heap and this pillar to me, for harm. The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.’ So Jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac.” ~Genesis 31:44-53

Seeing the Mizpah verse in context, it takes on a slightly different tone. It not only asks God to watch over them as far as their safety is concerned, but it also asks God to hold them accountable for their actions and the intent of their hearts.

Bringing God into a relationship should cause us to take it more seriously. But guess what? Since God created each and every one of us and loves each and every one of us, I think that brings Him automatically into each and every one of our relationships. So, perhaps we should be taking all of our relationships more seriously.

We should make sure that we do not deliberately set out to harm someone. No matter what evil someone has done to us, we are not to repay in kind. We are to remember that God sees and God will watch over us, and them. Jesus told us to love and to pray for our enemies. (Matthew 5:44) That is not easy, but it is a command. And with God’s help, it is possible.

The intent of our hearts should be to love and to treat each other honorably. God is our witness. He sees it all, whether we are asking Him, like Jacob and Laban did, or not.

We should be willing to sit down and talk things out when we have disagreements and hurts. This one scares me- I hate hearing how I have failed. But the alternative, hearing through the grapevine, broken fellowship and broken hearts, is even worse.

“Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,’ says the Lord. ‘BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING, YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS UPON HIS HEAD.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” ~Romans 12:17-21

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This entry was posted in Family, Genesis, Jacob, Laban, Love, Love one another, Marriage, Others, Romans, September 2011. Bookmark the permalink.

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