Under the camel’s saddle.
Rachel had been affianced to Jacob, and one day while her father, Laban, was away from home she eloped with Jacob. Laban returned home and expressed great sorrow that he had not been there when his daughter went away, saying that he would have allowed her to go, and that she might have been accompanied with a harp and the dance and with many beautiful presents.
Laban started for Rachel and Jacob. He was very anxious to recover the gods that had been stolen from his household. He supposed that Rachel had taken them, as she really had. He came up in the course of a few days to the party and demanded the gods that had been taken from his house. Jacob knew nothing about the felony, but Rachel was secreting these household gods.
Laban came into the tent where she was, and asked for them. She sat upon a saddle of a camel, the saddle having been laid down at the side of the tent, and under this camel’s saddle were the images. Rachel pretended to be sick, and said she could not rise. Her father, Laban, supposed that she told the truth, and looked everywhere but under the camel’s saddle, where really the lost images were. He failed in the search, and went back home without them.
It was a strange thing for Laban to do. He pretended to be a worshiper of the true God. What did he want of those images? Ah, the fact was, that though he worshiped God, he worshiped with only half a heart, and he sometimes, I suppose, repented of the fact that he worshiped him at all, and really had a hankering after those old gods which in his earliest days he had worshiped. And now we find him in Rachel’s tent looking for them.
Do not let us, however, be too severely critical of Laban. He is only the representative of thousands of Christian men and women, who, once having espoused the worship of God, go back to their idols. When a man professes faith in Christ on communion-day, with the sacramental cup in his hand, he swears allegiance to the Lord God Almighty, and says, “Let all my idols perish!” but how many of us have forsaken our fealty to God, and have gone back to our old idols!
There are many who sacrifice their soul’s interests in the idolatry of wealth. There was a time when you saw the folly of trying with, money to satisfy the longing of your soul. You said, when you saw men going down into the dust and tussle of life, “Whatever god I worship, it won’t be a golden calf.” You saw men plunge into the life of a spendthrift, or go down into the life of a miser, like one of old smothered to death in his own money-chest, and you thought, “I shall be very careful never to be caught in these traps in which so many men have fallen, to their souls’ eternal discomfiture.”
But you went down into the world; you felt-the force of temptation; you saw men all around you making money very fast, some of them sacrificing all their Christian principle; you felt the fascination come upon your own soul, and before you knew it, you were with Laban going down to hunt in Rachel’s tent for your lost idols.