Summary: Because God is a Gracious God, He will love every person, whether that person is like Jacob who was promised by God, or ordinary people like Leah, Rachel, and Laban; but every person can choose to separate from God’s blessings.
Last week, we learned about God’s grace through 2 women, Leah and Rachel. We noted that biblical grace is undeserved favor. Let us learn more about this gracious God through 2 men, Jacob and Laban.
Since we will cover much Scripture today, we will first briefly look at the character of the 2 men, read passages and note the main points, then summarize it all by applying Biblical principles to our lives today.
What can we know about Jacob from Genesis 29-31?
Remember in Genesis 29, Jacob loved himself and Rachel more than God. Everyone is to love God first!
In Genesis 30:1-8, we note that Jacob did not seek counsel from God, got angry at Rachel, and slept with a maidservant. Jacob must have loved to deal with women!
In Genesis 30:9-12, Jacob slept again with another maidservant! Jacob must have loved to have headaches.
In Genesis 30:16, Jacob didn’t like Leah but gave into her selfish demands. There were no aspirins back then, so Jacob just gave in to on of his wives. I wonder if Jacob really had a life at that time with 4 wives to deal with?
So, so far, do we see a godly man in Jacob?? – Nope!
But let us not forget that Jacob was chosen by God to be a witness for God.
Open your Bibles to Genesis 30, read with me v25-43……
What can we learn about Jacob from this passage?
After 20 years of working for Laban, ending up with 4 wives, 11 sons, and a daughter, Jacob decided it was time to go back to Canaan.
What made Jacob decide to go back??
There are a number of possible reasons why Jacob decided it was time to go back to Canaan:
• Rachel, the one he loved, finally had a son!
• He missed his homeland and his parents.
• Jacob wanted to run his own home.
• Or perhaps God instructed Jacob.
We do see this in Genesis 31:3.
Look back briefly to Genesis 28:20-22……………
There are many reasons why Jacob decided to go back to Canaan. But it is possible that Jacob finally remembered God and remembered his vow to follow and love God!
Look briefly at Genesis 31:10………….
God spoke to Jacob and so Jacob asked for the less desired sheep and goats. You see, during those times, pure white sheep and pure colored goats were of more worth than the other animals. Jacob actually gave Laban the more expensive animals. This is why Laban agreed so quickly! And so we can note Jacob starting to walk with God. But there was something interesting in v37-43………
What would you say is Jacob doing here??
We don’t read God ever telling Jacob about the “striped branches trick”. Jacob schemed to cheat Laban!
Jacob was beginning to follow God but he still did not fully trust God. Does this apply to anyone of us?
And so, after making a vow to God, Jacob forgot about God, then remembered God and started to follow God, but Jacob still didn’t fully trust God, but yet, Jacob was focused on going home to Canaan!
And in spite of Jacob’s big failures:
God protected Jacob!
God made Jacob prosper!
God spoke to and instructed Jacob!
Why would God do these things for a man who was actually a failure? God is gracious! And for Jacob, we also have to add that God keeps his promises!
What about the other man Laban? Was he a godly man? Did Laban receive God’s grace?
From Genesis 29-30 we note the following about Laban:
Laban tricked Jacob to working for him for 14 years.
And look again a Genesis 30:27-28….
Laban may had been praising God, but then he said, “name your wages, I will pay for them.”
Laban tried to buy God’s blessings!
And look again at Genesis 30:34…………
Laban agreed with Jacob but cheated on Jacob.
Now, let’s look at Genesis 31. I have asked Nick Hamby to read for us this morning………
Look again at v24……..
And what did Laban do in v26-30? He not only spoke to Jacob, Laban actually cited that he was disobeying God! And in the end, Laban decided that he didn’t need Jacob and separated himself from Jacob and his daughters.
Laban was not a godly man.
Laban actually worshipped idols.
But Laban received general grace from God. Laban received grace because of his association with God’s chosen man Jacob. But, Laban eventually chose to seperate from God’s man Jacob and after Genesis 31, we don’t hear anymore about Laban, wealth was taken from Laban and was left in Aram, he was separated from his daughters, and he did not experience the promised land or be with God’s people! Does this mean Laban did not have a good life? The Bible doesn’t tell us. But here’s what we can know: God was gracious to Laban but he missed out on the blessings of the promise of God as he separated from God’s man. We don’t hear anymore about Laban after Genesis 31.