Summary: Genesis part 51. God's provision
God Provides for His Own (Genesis Pt. 51)
Text: Genesis 30:25-43
By: Ken McKinley
So Jacob’s now served his uncle Laban for 14 years, and he’s ready to get out of there and go back home. And when we look at this passage, we can see that the relationship between Jacob and Laban has become pretty strained. Laban tricked him, and lied to him, and Jacob has had to work for his uncle for the past 14 years, all because of those lies. And it amazes me that Jacob actually fulfilled his end of the bargain. He worked those 14 years, without trying to cheat Laban, or pull any of his shenanigans. But now he’s fulfilled his obligations, and he’s ready to leave.
And I’m sure we’ve all experienced, or we know people who have experienced situations, maybe in their jobs, or in relationships… where their boss or their co-workers treated them badly. Maybe they took credit for something that you did, or they schemed you in some way, and you just want to get away from them and from those types of situations. Well; that’s where Jacob’s at in life. And so he goes to his uncle and basically says, “Listen, I’m ready to go, please send us away in peace.”
Now some might ask, “Well why didn’t Jacob just take off and leave? Why did he have to ask his uncle?” Well I think there’s a couple of reasons why he did it the way he did it. First of all, I think Jacob… in those 14 years of working for Laban… I think he came to understand what sort of person he was. He probably knew that Laban was going to be mad at him if he just took off. But not only that, this is his wife’s father, and his kids grandfather, and his mom’s brother. So no matter how big of a jerk Laban might have been, he was still family. So Jacob’s doing the right thing by asking this way.
And it’s interesting because there is a bit of a symbolism here.
Jacob wants to go home. He’s fulfilled his obligations, and now he wants to go home. And I think all of us are like that in a way. Like Jacob we want to go to our home… not the places we stay in here on earth, but to our heavenly home, our heavenly country, Philippians 3:20 says, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” But sometimes we still have work to do, and obligations that God wants us to fulfill. Now I’m not comparing Laban to God… Laban is compared to the world. Because just when we think we’re moving up in the world, or that we’re going to finally get what we want in this world, the world changes the terms. And so as Christians, we’ve got to keep in mind that this world is not our home, and this world can never give us lasting joy and peace and satisfaction. At the same time, God calls us to be in the world, but not of the world. And we are to occupy until He comes, or until we are called home. And so the reality is that there is no retirement from our Christian duty. We might retire from our jobs, but we are to never stop doing ministry and serving the Lord, and sharing the Gospel with others.
And so in verse 27, Laban says, “Stay!”
Now it’s interesting here, because in the NKJV, Laban says, “I have learned by experience that the LORD has blessed me because of you.” In the NIV and ESV he says, “I have learned by divination that the LORD has blessed me because of you.” And this is an instance where the NIV is a better translation, because that’s exactly what Laban is saying. And so that adds another dynamic to the whole scenario.
Laban is consorting with demons. And so Jacob, the believer has been forced to work for Laban the pagan. And not only is he a pagan, but look at what he’s concerned with here. Not his daughters, or his grandkids… he’s concerned about the material blessings he’s been getting because he’s been around Jacob.
Now there’s some principles we need to look at here.
Laban’s a pagan. He’s not a believer, but because he’s been in close proximity to Jacob, the blessings have rubbed off on him. That’s not an unbiblical idea. First of all, God has promised to bless Abraham and his offspring, and God said that He would bless those who blessed him. And that blessing is to Abraham and his offspring and ultimately to his Seed, which is Christ, and all of those who are in Him. That’s why Paul says in 1st Corinthians 7:14 that, “The unbelieving husband is sanctified by the believing wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the believing husband.” Now that doesn’t mean that they are saved by association, they are set apart, sanctified… they aren’t saved by association, but they can be blessed by association. And not only do we see that in Scripture, we see it in history. Europe was once a bastion for Christianity, but as they grow more and more secular, they become less and less blessed. The same is true for us here in the U.S. God has blessed us because at one time, we were a nation that was predominantly made up of Christians, and even those who weren’t Christians held to certain Biblical principles of morality and ideals. But as we’ve moved away from that, and the more we’ve moved away from the LORD, we are in essence removing ourselves from the blessings as well. Every culture that has abandoned God, has always moved backward, not forward, and eventually they were destroyed.