Summary: Are you watchful, attentive and careful with the words you speak to others? In this message, we will learn from the life of Jacob on how to improve our Christian character for the better to be a good testimony to others.
Text: Genesis 31:24 (NIV) "Then God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and said to him, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.”
Do you know that many times, we are not aware of the destructive and harmful words that we say to people close to us?
We thought that we are just expressing our feelings and what we think about the issue but we have no idea of the harm that we have done to people when we release those unfavorable words.
It is time to be watchful and attentive to the words we speak to them.
It is time to improve our Christian testimony and godly character.
Let us learn together.
We are now in chapter 31 of the Book of Genesis.
It has been an exciting journey for Jacob.
He has been abundantly blessed in a foreign land and those who are close to him noticed it.
But not everyone has a positive outlook about it.
Laban himself and his sons have developed envy and jealousy over Jacob.
"Why is Jacob blessed so much but we are not?
What is in him that we don't have?
We eat the same food and we stay at the same house."
They could not understand the reasons for Jacob's abundant blessings.
They have not realized that it was God Himself who gave Jacob special favor.
And so, they have changed their attitudes towards Jacob.
It was not what it used to be.
And so, Jacob was forced to flee with his entire family.
This chapter is about how the Lord was constantly guiding him as he fled from Laban.
God was constantly blessing him along the way.
There are three things in this chapter we can learn:
1. With regards to Laban and his sons, their attitudes towards Jacob has changed drastically.
It has created some relationship problems in the family.
Jacob had to flee because of this.
We must be WATCHFUL with our ATTITUDES towards one another.
2. With regards to Laban pursuing Jacob, God gave him a personal warning in a dream.
He must be careful with the words he releases to Jacob.
At the same time, we must be WATCHFUL with the WORDS we speak to people.
Because God will always protect his servants from harm even from verbal abuse.
3. With regards to the covenant between Laban and Jacob.
They placed several stones as a reminder of God's presence between them.
God will always WATCH over us even though we are far away from each other.
Therefore, we have to be watchful and consistent with our godly characters.
The prominent word in our study is watchfulness.
It is a good word.
It means being vigilant.
It means being alert or being closely observant with regards to the surroundings you are in.
It also means you are cautious or attentive with regards to a person's inward feelings or emotional state.
You are not only aware of your own personal feeling, but you are also mindful of other people's pain or perception.
You are not only protective of your own feelings but you are also guarding other people's feelings.
That is the kind of character that we should have.
We are knowledgeable on what is going on with other people's emotion.
You don't want to hurt them but you want to respect and understand them.
This is what we call sympathy.
This is what compassion, sensitivity, tenderness and understanding is all about.
Not too many people have that kind of attitudes.
We have been used to a rough and difficult life.
The people that we have been in contact with are not tender and cautious.
We have been hurt many times.
Words can hurt deep.
And so, we have built as defense mechanism in our system that tends to fight back and destroy our opponents.
Our words have been harsh, sharp and bitter.
And these have severely affected our attitudes towards people.
We have not been careful with our words to people.
And so, instead of building friends, unknowingly, we have created enemies.
But this Genesis chapter 31 in the life of Jacob have some inspiring lessons for us to learn.
And so we must be watchful.
THREE THINGS TO LEARN FROM THIS CHAPTER:
1. WATCH YOUR ATTITUDES. Genesis 31:1-2"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.” 2 And Jacob noticed that Laban’s attitude toward him was not what it had been."
Jacob has been in Haran for a long time.
When he first arrived there, he was well received by the family of Laban.
But after sometime, the attitudes of Laban and his sons towards him changed.
It was not what it used to be.