You know, life would be so much better if things didn’t get in our way. Like slow cars on the highway, kid’s toys stacked up on the table, government bureaucracy, etc. But that’s just life. There’s a good chance that occasionally there’s going to be things in our way. Even when we’re trying to do something meaningful and good with our life.
Did you know that a teacher once told Thomas Edison that he was stupid? (But it didn’t stop him.) Did you know that Lucile Ball was once kicked out of acting school? (But it didn’t stop her.) Did you know that Michael Jordan was cut from his varsity high school basketball team? (But it didn’t stop him.)
There are times when we’re going to endeavor to do something meaningful and good and we will be met with opposition. Will it stop us?
Jacob is about to meet some opposition when he tries to do something meaningful and good with his life. He’s been working for his uncle for 14 years, he’s got the wife he came there for, (along with 3 other wives), and he’s ready to go back home. He’s ready to take God up on that offer of helping him make it back to his homeland.
[Read Genesis 28:15.]
Jacob was ready and his heart was set on returning to his family. But his uncle wasn’t quite ready for him to leave. Jacob had kind of become his meal-ticket. But we will see that:
I. God blesses Jacob in spite of the opposition
[Read Genesis 30:25-34.]
Jacob’s heart is to go home. He’s been away for 14 years and feels like it’s time to go. Laban isn’t in agreement to just let him go so Jacob strikes up a deal with him. Jacob says that he’ll continue to shepherd his flocks as long as long as Laban lets him have all the speckled and spotted livestock for his own. These types of animals with these kinds of coats of fur were less desirable so Laban readily agreed.
Obviously Jacob had a plan to raise up his own flocks so that one day he could afford to leave on his own. (It seems that if Jacob would have left right then he would have done so with nothing and a large family to take care of.) So Jacob stayed and raised up his flocks.
[Read Genesis 30:35-43.]
While Jacob is being met with strict opposition from Laban, the Lord is blessing him in spite of it. He’s using Jacob’s knowledge of shepherding and the genetic make up of the livestock to increase Jacobs flocks over Laban’s.
Laban thought he was getting a good deal thinking that giving Jacob the few, weak animals would keep his flocks small. But God turned it around and the opposite happened. Laban’s flocks grew weaker while Jacob’s flocks grew larger and stronger.
For 6 years this went on. For 6 years Jacob continued to work the opposition’s flocks while the Lord worked his flocks.
During this time tension started to grow between Jacob and Laban. Laban and his sons were obviously jealous of Jacob’s success. And Jacob probably never quit thinking about going home. So one night the Lord told Jacob the time had come for him to go home.
II. God directs Jacob away from the opposition
[Read Genesis 31:1-21.]
Enough was enough! Jacob had been there 20 years at this point, Laban is cheating him at every turn, Leah and Rachel believe their own father won’t give them their inheritance, and tension was mounting in the air.
But the decision to leave wasn’t made until the Lord appeared to Jacob and gave him the freedom to go. It’s like He’d been proving to Jacob over the years that He would be with him by blessing him in spite of the opposition. Now it was time to trust God and go back home.
Now even though Jacob really wanted to go, he knew this would be a tough thing to do. Laban had already proved to Jacob that he probably wouldn’t let him leave without a fight. And even though he had amassed much, it would take a lot to move all of those people, possessions and animals 600 miles without Laban and his men catching up to him.
Jacob even felt it necessary to get his wives on board with his decision to leave the household of Uncle Laban. Sometimes decisions that would seem to be easy are the most difficult to make simply because of the unknown.
Jacob had prospered in the land there. He knew what things were like there and they were good. But better days lay back at home. And God had promised him that He would never leave him. So armed with his faith and determination, Jacob packs up and leaves!