Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Genesis 31:1-3

Today’s lesson hits me right where I am today! I’m asking God to teach me, so I can teach you, because I’m hoping my lens is not too colored by my own personal experiences.

Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were saying, “Jacob has taken everything our father owned and has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.” And Jacob noticed that Laban’s attitude toward him was not what it had been. (Gen 31:1-2)

I’m finding the troubles of this extended family to be so real it hurts! Notice that Jacob did not hear himself what Laban’s sons were saying - he got it third hand. Probably from some “well-intentioned friend” who just wanted to let Jacob know what was being said about him. In all likelihood this is exactly what they had said. They had exaggerated the scheme of Jacob’s with the spotted and speckled flocks to say that Jacob had taken EVERYTHING. Further, Laban had become noticeably cool toward Jacob. This is what comes from an atmosphere of deception and mistrust. It just seems so clear to me here that this is all-out spiritual warfare!

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph 6:12)

Things had always been strained between Jacob and Laban, because both had been in a power struggle due to their patterns of deception. It’s possible that either one of them could have made amends somehow earlier. Certainly Jacob had held to his bargain and worked hard for Laban for all of those years, but we have no reason to believe that he ever tried to work out his relationship with his father-in-law. I believe they were at the point of no return - there was no way this relationship was ever going to be anything but destructive. And God promises that He will never give us more than we can bear, but will, indeed, provide a way out for us when things are too much. (I Cor 10:13) And He does just that for Jacob here:

Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.” (vs. 3)

Oh, my gosh! Jacob must have been ecstatic to hear these words from God! God was not condoning Jacob’s behavior here - but He was extending the grace that Jacob so needed. Jacob had done nothing to deserve God’s favor; he was a miserable little sinner like the rest of us! But God had a plan for Jacob and his descendants - a plan of grace from beginning to end. And that is where I’m standing today: a miserable little sinner who needs God’s grace so desperately! I have seen God provide ways out for me before, and I see one now. I am so very thankful that HE is the one who is faithful!!!

More tomorrow. Tomorrow is the last day of school. That’s one of the ways of escape! :)


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