Year 2 Day 262
Read - Genesis 31
Message - Scott Woodburn
The tension between Laban and Jacob had reached boiling point. The sons of Laban openly resented Jacob (v1) and Jacob knew that Laban no longer looked upon him favourably (v2). Into this fraught context the Lord spoke and commanded Jacob “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.” (v3). It was time to go home.
Jacob had come to understand that even though Laban could not be trusted, the Lord God always could. It wasn’t Jacob’s sticks that had caused spotted and striped animals to be born but instead it was the mighty hand of God (v8). It was the Lord who had taken Laban’s flocks and given them to Jacob (v9) and it was the Lord who had seen Laban’s wicked plan and overruled him (v12). It was the Lord who had revealed Himself to Jacob at Bethel (v13) and now the Lord was telling Jacob to go home.
Rachel and Leah’s relationship had not been an easy one and yet they both agreed it was time to do whatever God commanded (v16). With agreement reached Jacob and his family fled. They kept their plan from Laban (v20) and strangely Rachel stole the false idols belonging to her father (v19).
Not surprisingly Laban gave chase and eventually overtook Jacob (v25). Laban would have been well within his rights to punish Jacob harshly but yet again the schemes of Laban were overruled by Almighty God. The Lord spoke in a dream and told Laban “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.” (v24) Laban listened to the Lord but enquired nevertheless as to why Jacob had stolen Laban’s false gods (v30).
Jacob knew nothing about Rachel’s theft and so declared “Anyone with whom you find your gods shall not live.” (v32) Rachel’s actions had been petty and unnecessary and could quite easily have cost her life. Yet again the Lord is gracious to His people even in the midst of their foolishness. Laban conducts a full search but doesn’t find his gods. Rachel put them in her saddle and sat upon them, telling her father she couldn’t rise because of her monthly period (v35). It was another trick but Laban this time fell for it.
As the threat of violence slowly disappeared Jacob and Laban battled verbally. Jacob wanted to know what Laban’s problem was. Jacob had served him for twenty years and had done his best to act justly. Everything had moved to this moment and Laban had now even heard God’s rebuke (v42). The heat of Laban’s anger was cooling. It appears in his speech that he still doesn’t trust Jacob but nevertheless he calls for a covenant between the warring parties (v44).
Jacob set up a stone pillar and heaped stones around it (v45-46). The two men who will later represent the nations of Israel and Syria agreed to peace with God as the witness that they would do no evil to one another and would respect each other’s territory (v52).
Jacob’s years with Laban had been incredibly difficult and just before the two men went their separate ways this divided family could easily have spilt each other’s blood. The reason disaster was averted wasn’t because of Laban’s disappearing anger, Jacob’s striped sticks or Rachel’s stolen false gods. Instead the Lord throughout Jacob’s entire twenty years with Laban had been at work. The Lord is sovereign and He knows the path of His people. He overrules the plans of the wicked and He forgives the fool who makes matters worse by the theft of false idols.
God is sovereign and God is good. Laban’s gods couldn’t hear or speak and they were rendered insignificant hidden under his daughter’s backside. The one true God hears, speaks, answers, rules and defends. He is the sovereign Triune God who is for His people. Brothers and sisters if you are being chased by Laban and don’t know how to escape please remember today that by faith in Christ, God is for you. As the Psalmist would later write “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” (Psalm 46v11)
Q27 Wherein did Christ’s humiliation consist? Christ’s humiliation consisted in his being born, and that in a low condition, made under the law, undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath of God, and the cursed death of the cross; in being buried, and continuing under the power of death for a time.