Jacob Heads Home
January 24 - Nº 24 Genesis 30:25-33; 31:1-55
Jacob was a shrewd businessman and a hard worker. He convinced Laban, his father-in-law, to allow him to keep the weaker, less desirable lambs so he could start a flock of his own. Laban agreed. God blessed Jacob, and soon he had far more flocks of his own than the ones he managed for Laban. Laban’s sons grew jealous and accused Jacob of stealing from their father. In reality it was their father who kept changing the terms of the agreement and stealing from Jacob! Jacob longed to go home, but Laban balked. Laban understood that all the success he had experienced was a result of God’s blessing on Jacob. So with his controlling and cunning personality he forced Jacob to stay. God finally told Jacob it was time for him to leave. He promised to protect Jacob and his family on the long journey. Leah and Rachel (who later died in childbirth) agreed to go and started packing for the long journey. But on her way out the door, Rachel grabbed the family idols that belonged to Laban and hid them in her gear! Even though he knew God would protect him, Jacob was afraid of his uncle. So when Laban was away, he and his family quietly snuck off. Laban had no idea they were gone until three days later. He set off in hot pursuit. On his way, God showed up in a dream and warned him that if he messed with Jacob there would be serious consequences. Although he was angry, Laban was afraid to disobey God. He finally caught up with Jacob and furiously accused him of stealing the family idols. Jacob was clueless. He was sure no one in his family had stolen them and suggested that if Laban could find the thief, he should kill him. Rachel scrambled and hid the idols under her camel’s saddle and sat down on it. When her father came to search her tent, she lied saying she didn’t feel well enough to get up. He believed her, and finally gave up. Jacob was more than a little upset with his father-in-law’s accusation and angrily criticized him for all the times he had cheated and mistreated his family over the past 20 years. He listed all his accomplishments and all the hardships he had endured during the time he had served so diligently. After exchanging a few more words, Laban and Jacob decided to separate. They built a boundary line of stones and made a covenant. Neither of them could cross that boundary into the other’s territory without breaking their treaty and risking death. Jacob’s own sin and selfishness had forced him to run away from home. Even though he had repented at the altar in Bethel (see #21), Jacob still had to deal with the consequences of his actions. He became the servant of a ruthless, godless man, and for a while he was trapped in a difficult situation. Escaping Laban’s strong grasp wasn’t easy. But with God’s help, and when the time was right, he did!
Do you feel trapped?
Is there something (or someone) in your life that keeps you from doing and being all that God wants you to do and be? Is it time to leave it behind? Ask God to show you how you can best serve Him in the situation you are in and to let you know when it is time to leave. Then trust Him to protect you.