Freedom: Jacob Reclaiming His Roots!
Jacob had been away from home twenty years, and it was time he returned to his roots. His father Isaac and his brother Esau were still alive, and Jacob had some “unfinished business” to settle with both of them.
JACOB HEARD Laban’s sons complaining, Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s; he has acquired all this wealth and honor from what belonged to our father.
Genesis 31:1 (AMP)
Jacob had come to Laban with nothing but the clothes on his back. He had served Laban for 14 years for his wives. And in the six years since Jacob took all the spotted cattle, he had become so prosperous that Laban’s children envied him and said he had taken all their father’s animals. The blessing of God was now working in Jacob like a flood from a broken dam.
Yet with this prosperity came more trouble. There will always be opposition towards those who have the favor of God from those who don’t have it. Jealousy is the root of all that contention (Proverbs 13:10).
And Jacob also noticed a change in how Laban looked at him and treated him. He seemed colder toward him than before.
Genesis 31:2 (VOICE)
It’s not like Laban had treated Jacob well before this. That certainly was not the case. But Laban had been friendly towards Jacob.
Why shouldn’t he be?
He had bled Jacob for all he was worth. This had been a great relationship for Laban up to this point. But now the tide had turned. Jacob was getting the upper hand. Laban was no longer the beneficiary of Jacob’s blessing but the one at whose expense the blessings were being provided.
This underscores the fact that all of Laban’s kindness to Jacob before this was selfish. He didn’t truly care for Jacob or his daughters. He remained civil enough towards them to manipulate them for his own purposes. When he couldn’t milk those relationships anymore, then everything changed.
This is a classic example of the carnal person who only lives for self. They only treat others well if it is to their advantage. One of the great differences between God’s AGAPE love and the carnal “love” of the world is this very thing. God’s love is unselfish and genuinely puts the other person’s interest ahead of our own.
Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”
Genesis 31:3 (NIV)
How did the Lord tell Jacob that it was time, to leave?
The same way He leads His people today:
- Through the inner witness in the heart,
- The outward circumstances of life, and
- The truth of His Word.
Six years before, God had put the desire in Jacob’s heart to return to his own country (Gen. 30:25), and that desire had never left him. While not every longing in the human heart is necessarily the voice of God (Jer. 17:9), and we must carefully exercise discernment, the Lord often begins to speak to us in that way.
Along with the desire within us, God also directs us as He did Jacob through the circumstances around us.
Toward the end of those six critical years, Jacob noticed that his in-laws weren’t as friendly toward him as before, largely because of the increase in his wealth. Circumstances aren’t always the finger of God pointing out His way (Acts 27:1-15), but they can be significant indicators of God’s will. When God wants to move us, He occasionally makes us uncomfortable and “stirs up its nest” (Deut. 32:11).
The third and most important way God leads us is through His Word. God had already spoken to Jacob in a dream, but Jacob remained in Padan Aram to acquire his wealth. Then God said to him, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you”. As the story of Jacob unfolds, you will discover that God spoke to him at every important crisis in his life:
- Leaving home (Gen. 28:12-15),
- Returning home (Gen. 31:1-13),
- Meeting Esau (Gen. 32:24),
- Visiting Bethel (Gen. 35:1), and
- Moving to Egypt (Gen. 46:1-4).
God leads us in the paths of righteousness if we’re willing to follow (Ps. 23:3).
So Jacob called his wives Rachel and Leah to meet him in the field where his flock was grazing.
Jacob: I notice your father’s attitude toward me has changed; he doesn’t regard me with the same respect as he did before. But the God of my father has been with me. You both know how well I have served your father—with all my strength. However your father cheated me by changing the terms of my salary 10 times, but beyond that my God did not allow him to harm me. If your father said, “The speckled will be your payment,” then all of the flock became speckled; and if he said, “the striped will be your payment,” then all of the flock became striped. In this way, God has taken away your father’s livestock and given them to me. During the mating season of the flock, I once paid attention to a dream, and in the dream, I saw the male goats that mated with the flock were striped, speckled, and mottled. Then God’s messenger said to me in the dream, “Jacob!” and I answered, “I’m here.” And the messenger said, “Look up right now, and see all of the goats that are mating with the flock are striped, speckled, and mottled because I have noticed everything Laban is doing to you. I am the God of Bethel, the place where you poured oil on a pillar and made a vow to Me. Now get up, leave this land, and return to the land where you were born.”
Rachel and Leah: Is there any inheritance at all left for us from our father’s house? He regards us as foreigners now that we’ve married you. He sold us in exchange for your years of labor, and he has been using up all of the money that should have been ours.
Genesis 31:4-15 (VOICE)
In those days the man did not have to ask his wife for permission. They were treated as property. But Jacob took time to share his thinking with Rachel and Leah; for after all, he was asking them to leave their people and home and go with him to another land and people.
Even though the Word of God is our primary source of wisdom in making decisions (Psalm 119:105), it’s good for us to consult with others and weigh their counsel, particularly those closest to us.
Both Rachel and Leah didn’t have any reservations about leaving Laban. They were very much aware of how their father had used them for his own personal profit and hadn’t given them anything. Laban may have prospered financially through his dealings, but he lost his daughters in the process. They didn’t have a great love for their father, Laban.
All of the property God has taken from our father and given to you actually belongs to us and to our children anyway! So do whatever God said to do.
So Jacob got up, and he put his children and his wives on camels for the journey. He rounded up all of his livestock and all of the property he had gained, including the livestock he had acquired in Paddan-aram, and he began to drive them to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.
Meanwhile Laban had gone off to shear his sheep. While he was out, Rachel stole her father’s household idols. And Jacob likewise deceived Laban the Aramean by hiding from him the fact that he was leaving. He just left quickly with everything he had. He crossed the Euphrates River and set pace south toward the hill country of Gilead.
Genesis 31:16-21 (VOICE)
With his wives’ agreement and a word from the Lord, Jacob was totally committed to leaving the service of Laban. But instead of facing Laban honestly and trusting the Lord to keep His promises and work things out, Jacob fled with his family like a criminal escaping justice.
This was an act of fear and unbelief, not an act of faith; for “whoever believes will not act hastily” (Isa. 28:16). In fact, Jacob later admitted to Laban that he had departed secretly and quickly because he was afraid (Gen. 31:31).
It isn’t enough to know and do the will of God; we must also do His will in the way He wants it done, the way that will glorify Him the most.
|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.