A. INTRODUCTION: GENESIS 29:1-30; 30:25-43
1. God prospers us when we work at it.
How People Prepare for Life’s Work
• Attend school, prepare self and knowledge
• Acquire skills needed on the job
• Begin at the bottom
• Perform chores at home
• Choose things to buy with our wages
• Properly complete all the paper work
2. Motivation, Jacob running for his life. “I will kill my brother” (29:41).
3. God has plans for your work. “I will keep you wherever you go” (28:15).
4. Most children have to leave home to prosper. “So Jacob went on his journey and came to the land of the people of the East” (29:1).
5. Some children have to stay home to prosper – Isaac.
6. See opportunities and seize them. “He looked and saw a well” (29:2).
7. Meeting needs (helping others) open doors. “Jacob . . . rolled the stone from the well’s mouth” (29:11).
8. Others (family or strangers) help get employment. “Brought him (Jacob) to his house” (29:13).
9. Get help from family, but don’t take advantage. “He stayed with him a month” (29:14).
10. Learn the skill of negotiation. “Tell me what should thy wages be?” (29:15).
B. DEALING WITH SETBACKS: GENESIS 29:16-28
“Laban had two daughters, Rachel was attractive and pretty, Leah had “bad eyes.” Jacob fell in love with Rachel and agreed to work 7 years as her dowry. His love was so great that the time passed swiftly. During the wedding celebration, Laban switched brides and Jacob fulfilled the marriage vow with Leah. The next morning Jacob raged at his father-in-law, but Laban suggested spending a week with Leah, because of their tradition that the oldest had to marry first. A week later Jacob was given Rachel, but had to agree to work another 7 years for her” (29:16-30, Condensed).
1. You reap in life what you sow. Jacob, who tricked his brother, got tricked by his father-in-law.
a. Laban didn’t want to be stuck with an unmarried daughter.
b. Jacob negotiated for the best.
c. God sovereignly worked His plan. The Messiah came through Leah.
2. God’s plan is one man for one woman, but He providentially works through existing cultures to complete His will.
3. Learn to work through setbacks. “The Lord has blessed you (Laban) since my (Jacob) coming” (30:30).
4. Make your boss happy and you will prosper. “Laban said, ‘The Lord has blessed me for your sake’” (30:29).
5. Negotiate your work output (what you will accomplish) and your wages (what you will be paid). Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything . . . I will feed and keep your flocks” (30:31).
6. Jacob worked on commission. Jacob agreed to give Laban the desirable sheep, and he kept the undesirable (speckled, spotted and brown)” (30:32-33).
7. This humble action was unlike Jacob.
8. God blessed Jacob because of the way he handled the situation. “God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands” (31:42).
9. Even in the presence of God’s blessing, Jacob resorted to trickery.
a. Questionable, a conception practice with sticks.
b. Deceptive, “When the flocks were feeble, he did not put them in” (30:42).
10. Be careful when workers turn against you. “Jacob has taken away all that was ours” (31:1).
11. Be careful when your boss turns against you. “Jacob saw the countenance of Laban . . . not favorable” (31:3).
12. Jacob didn’t quit on good terms. “Laban was told on the third day that Jacob had fled” (31:22).
13. Agreed termination. His past employment ramifications. “Laban said to Jacob, ‘It is in my power to do you harm’” (31:29).
14. Work out bitter employment disagreements to the satisfaction of both. The Mizpah Benediction. “May the LORD watch between you and me when we are absent one from another” (31:49, KJV).
How A Christian Should Prepare For Work
1. Meet God and dedicate your life to Him (Gen. 28:12-22).
2. Plan to work in partnership with God. “I will surely give a tithe to you” (28:22).
3. Be willing to work before you get paid (29:10).
4. Establish good relationships with fellow workers (29:11).
5. Have a work/financial goal (29:20).
6. Accept setbacks and keep working (29:27-28)
7. Work diligently within the parameters (29:28-32)
8. Protect the fruit of your labor (29:36)
9. Know when to leave.
10. Attitude: make work fun. “If you enjoy working, you will never have to work another day in your life.”
If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:
Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, God heard you and saved you. I personally want to welcome you to the family of God and rejoice with you.
All PBC lessons are available online at trbc.org/pbc. Go to www.Hopenow.tv for the current program schedule.
Dr. Towns' email is ELTowns@liberty.edu
Dr. Towns’ web address is www.elmertowns.com