31 Jacob heard what Laban’s sons were saying. “Jacob has taken everything our father owned,” they said. “He has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.” 2 Jacob noticed that Laban’s feelings toward him had changed. 3 Then the Lord spoke to Jacob. He said, “Go back to your father’s land and to your relatives. I will be with you.” 4 So Jacob sent word to Rachel and Leah. He told them to come out to the fields where his flocks were. 5 He said to them, “I see that your father’s feelings toward me have changed. But the God of my father has been with me. 6 You know that I’ve worked for your father with all my strength. 7 But your father has cheated me. He has changed my pay ten times. In spite of everything that’s happened, God hasn’t let him harm me. 8 Sometimes Laban would say, ‘The speckled ones will be your pay.’ Then all the flocks had little ones with speckles. At other times he would say, ‘The striped ones will be your pay.’ Then all the flocks had little ones with stripes. 9 So God has taken away your father’s livestock and given them to me. 10 “Once during the mating season I had a dream. In my dream I looked and saw male goats mating with the flock. The goats had stripes, speckles or spots. 11 The angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob.’ I answered, ‘Here I am.’ 12 He said, ‘Look around you. See the male goats mating with the flock. All of them have stripes, speckles or spots. That’s because I have seen everything that Laban has been doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel. That is where you poured olive oil on a sacred stone. There you made a promise to me. Now leave this land. Go back to your own land.’ ” 14 Rachel and Leah replied, “Do we still have any share of our father’s property? 15 Doesn’t our father think of us as outsiders? First he sold us. Now he has used up what he was paid for us. 16 All the wealth God took away from our father really belongs to us and our children. So do what God has told you to do.” 17 Then Jacob put his children and wives on camels. 18 He drove all his livestock ahead of him. He also took with him everything he had acquired in Paddan Aram. He left to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.
It’s a familiar situation! One which we can all relate to. Relationships had become strained between Jacob and Laban and his sons. Because of God’s favour Jacob had become very prosperous despite being unjustly treated by Laban. Jacob’s life in Laban’s family had become so difficult, but in his heart he knew that God’s covenant promise to him would not change [see Genesis 28:10-22]
In a dream an angel messenger from God reassured Jacob of His protection and reminded him of the vow he had made at Bethel in response to God’s promise. It’s significant too that Jacob’s two wives encouraged him to deal with the situation.
The story of Jacob’s life in Laban’s family has confirmed God’s calling on my life. I know His promises are irrevocable and that no matter what situations I may face in my life, they can be confronted with confidence.
From this story the following guidelines will strengthen our faith:-
- God’s promises can never be revoked
- God’s faithfulness builds supreme confidence
- Listen to God’s voice and obey
- Action needs to be taken when relationships become strained
- God is always aware of our circumstances
- Partnership in marriage is so important
Lord I thank you for your faithfulness proven so many times during my life. Like Jacob I confirm my commitment to you and your kingdom.
Written by Keith Bennett