Jacob’s Wealth Increases
Soon after Rachel had given birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Please release me so I can go home to my own country. Let me take my wives and children, for I have earned them by serving you, and let me be on my way. You certainly know how hard I have worked for you.”
Genesis 30:25-26 (NLT)
The time had come for Jacob to move his large family to his own homeland and be on his own. He now had eleven sons and one daughter, and he had more than fulfilled his part of the bargain. He had earned the right to freedom. It was time to stop working for Laban and start building his own future security.
But crafty Laban wasn’t about to lose his son-in-law, especially when he knew that Jacob’s presence had brought to him the blessing of God.
And Laban said to him, “Please stay, if I have found favor in your eyes, for I have learned by experience that the LORD has blessed me for your sake.”
Genesis 30:27 (NKJV)
Laban was a liar and manipulator, but he did recognize the favor of God when he saw it and knew what benefit that could be to him. This was quite a testimony of God’s blessing on Jacob’s life.
Tell me how much I owe you. Whatever it is, I’ll pay it.”
Genesis 30:28 (NLT)
This was Laban saying, “Name your own salary.” This shows how much he wanted Jacob to stay.
Jacob had worked for Laban for fourteen years for his two wives, Leah and Rachel. Room and board came with that service. But he hadn’t accumulated any wealth for himself. Here Laban was offering Jacob a part of the herds in payment for another seven years of service.
Jacob replied, “You know how hard I’ve worked for you, and how your flocks and herds have grown under my care.”
Genesis 30:29 (NLT)
Jacob may have been the one running Laban’s business, but Laban knew what was going on. Jacob knew that Laban was well aware of how hard he had worked and how the blessing of the Lord was operating in his life. Those who operate in the favor of God know it. Indeed, the favor of God doesn’t work through us unless we believe it. Jacob had come a long way since his encounter with the Lord at Bethel.
“You had little indeed before I came, but your wealth has increased enormously. The LORD has blessed you through everything I’ve done. But now, what about me? When can I start providing for my own family?”
Genesis 30:30 (NLT)
This statement shows there had been a big transformation in Jacob in the last 14 years. He is now ascribing all his accomplishments as the blessing of the Lord. This is a different Jacob than the one who came to Laban. We can see the faith already beginning to work that would be so strong in Jacob by the time he left Laban.
“What wages do you want?” Laban asked again.
Jacob replied, “Don’t give me anything. Just do this one thing, and I’ll continue to tend and watch over your flocks.”
Genesis 30:31 (NLT)
Jacob would have certainly been justified in asking for a salary or other compensation. But Jacob made the superior choice. He took himself out of the hands of men and put his prosperity into the hands of God. The potential for blessing was much greater trusting God to bless what he had than it was to be dependent on a man, especially a man who had proved that he was not trustworthy.
Those who want the greatest financial blessings in their lives would do well to follow Jacob’s lead. Instead of taking the security of a fixed salary with cost-of-living raises, the greatest potential for financial success is when we don’t work for others but for ourselves. Then when God’s blessing manifest, we get the full benefit.
Jacob basically took care of Jacob’s cattle for free while managing his own herds and seeing God multiply them exceedingly.
Let me inspect your flocks today and remove all the sheep and goats that are speckled or spotted, along with all the black sheep. Give these to me as my wages.
Genesis 30:32 (NLT)
Since Laban agreed to this so quickly and willingly, it can be assumed that the spotted, speckled, and black animals were in the minority. Laban thought this was a good deal for him. He would just give Jacob a few animals, and then he would have Jacob’s services for free for seven more years. What a deal!
But Jacob had heard from God. He later revealed in Genesis 31:10-13 that he had a dream where he saw that all the flocks and herds produced these kind of markings. The Lord spoke to him and made him take notice of the markings of all the rams that were mating, and indicated He would take away the herds of Laban and give them to Jacob for the evil that Laban had done to him. Therefore, he was acting on a word from the Lord. He was acting in faith that the animals with these markings would become the dominant animals and multiply more and produce stronger animals than the others.
So, the deceiver who had betrayed his father’s trust and stolen his brother’s blessing by deceit and then was taken himself by the deception of his father-in-law had come to trust in God and not himself for his prosperity. This gave him the advantage in this contest with Laban. Laban, who was quite a con man himself, met his match.
In the previous fourteen years of Jacob keeping Laban’s sheep, the spotted animals had not outproduced the solid-colored animals. But in the next six years, the spotted animals became so numerous that Laban’s sons said he had stolen away all his cattle (Genesis 31:1).
“In the future, when you check on the animals you have given me as my wages, you’ll see that I have been honest. If you find in my flock any goats without speckles or spots, or any sheep that are not black, you will know that I have stolen them from you.”
Genesis 30:33 (NLT)
Jacob told his wives in Genesis 31:7 that Laban had changed his wages ten times. The time that he gave Leah to Jacob instead of Rachel is very obvious, but there must have been more. Therefore, Jacob’s planned to have all the spotted, black, and speckled animals would be a safeguard against any accusations that Laban might level against Jacob. This was experience and wisdom speaking through Jacob. Jacob was ninety-one at this time.
“All right,” Laban replied. “It will be as you say.”
Genesis 30:34 (NLT)
Laban thought this was a great deal. He expected to take advantage of Jacob’s services for next to nothing. But God had given Jacob a word, and Jacob was the one who was going to take advantage of Laban.
But that very day Laban went out and removed the male goats that were streaked and spotted, all the female goats that were speckled and spotted or had white patches, and all the black sheep. He placed them in the care of his own sons, who took them a three-days’ journey from where Jacob was. Meanwhile, Jacob stayed and cared for the rest of Laban’s flock.
Genesis 30:35-36 (NLT)
Laban continued to cheat Jacob. He tipped the scales in his favor. Laban may not have been aware of Abraham’s blessing that had become Jacob’s blessing, but it said God would bless those who blessed Jacob and curse those who cursed Jacob (Genesis 12:3). Laban had certainly cursed Jacob, and he was in line for the judgment of God. His payday was fast approaching.
Jacob soon figures out what Laban has done. The deceiver has once again been deceived.
But Jacob cut some fresh branches of poplar, almond, and plane trees; and he striped off the bark in streaks exposing the white wood beneath.
Genesis 30:37 (VOICE)
By peeling the bark off of these rods, Jacob gave them the appearance of streaked, speckled, and black that he desired in the cattle.
Some see this action as superstition or witchcraft, but I believe it was all about the power of imagination. The Lord had shown Jacob in a dream that all the animals would produce these motley offspring. It was to keep this imagination before Jacob and possibly even the animals. That’s how powerful the imagination is.
Then he placed these peeled branches in the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink, for that was where they mated. And when they mated in front of the white-streaked branches, they gave birth to young that were streaked, speckled, and spotted. Jacob separated those lambs from Laban’s flock. And at mating time he turned the flock to face Laban’s animals that were streaked or black. This is how he built his own flock instead of increasing Laban’s.
Whenever the stronger females were ready to mate, Jacob would place the peeled branches in the watering troughs in front of them. Then they would mate in front of the branches. But he didn’t do this with the weaker ones, so the weaker lambs belonged to Laban, and the stronger ones were Jacob’s.
Genesis 30:38-42 (NLT)
Jacob was not practicing superstition; he was exercising faith, which he somehow associated with the rods. God having designed the laws of genetics intervened and honored Jacob’s faith.
As a result, Jacob became very wealthy, with large flocks of sheep and goats, female and male servants, and many camels and donkeys.
Genesis 30:43 (NLT)
God’s blessings are always able to exceed man’s defrauding.
Father, I thank you for blessing others for my sake. My employers and associates are blessed because of the anointing You have placed on my life. They seek my favor and call me a blessing. Increase them, Father. Make me Your example. Use me to show them how wonderful You really are.
I pray in Jesus’ mighty name, Amen!
DECLARATION OF FAITH
Those whom I serve (employers, pastors, family, etc.) are blessed because of me. Their possessions increase and multiply because of the anointing on my life. The Lord showers them with favor and blessings for my sake.
I enjoy a continual increase of good things in my life. The Lord blesses me and makes my name great. In him, I have become rich.
I pray this declaration of faith in Jesus’s name, Amen!
|Be Authentic (Genesis 25-50)
By Warren W. Wiersbe
Life is full of imitations. Which is why today’s culture genuine, transparent people of God; believers who crave real spiritual growth. But what does that look like? The book of Genesis provides the answer, where we find 3 men who experienced an authentic life: Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Be Authentic: Genesis 25-50 shows the vital need shows the vital need for authenticity in an artificial world. Through this commentary you will discover how to pursue authentic relationships with others and God and how to live out your faith in an irresistible, compelling way.