Summary: Getting used to the idea of not being liked is difficult if you happen to be a person that cares what people think. But as you know Sometimes, “When God Says GO the World Says NO.”
Getting used to the idea of not being liked is difficult if you happen to be a person that cares what people think. But as you know Sometimes, “When God Says GO the World Says NO.”
Look at Genesis 31 tonight and we’ll catch a glimpse of what Jacob went through as he began to follow God’s leading.
The First lesson we learn in this text is that…
1 The World will not appreciate God’s work in our lives.
NIV 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." And Jacob noticed that Laban’s attitude toward him was not what it had been.
Now Laban’s sons begin to accuse Jacob and Laban himself didn’t think too fondly of Jacob. When you get into the root cause of their unhappiness it boils down to God’s hand being on Jacob but not on Laban. Apparently they both felt Jacob was being underhanded though in fact it was Laban who was being underhanded as is evidenced by the way Laban had changed Jacob’s wages 10 times in the past 6 years.
The Sons of Laban are a “type” of the sons of Satan, the people of the world have no knowledge of God, and are incapable of recognizing the work of a God they don’t accept or believe in. Even Laban won’t confess it when the opportunity is given to him. His own greed and spite has trained his sons to act like himself.
While we do enjoy the blessing of forgiveness and a promise of a future home, we’re not likely to enjoy the blessing of people outside of the covenant liking us. We don’t belong to this world. And when our lives are in tune with God we will incur the displeasure of people who do belong here.
But along the way…
2 God will provide his protection (presence, provision) as we obey.
Finally, in the third verse God speaks and begins again to actively direct Jacob’s life; it’s not as if God has been inactive though - for Jacob will reveal from his telling of the dream that God has been actively working in Jacob for the last 6 years to increase his flocks. Now God tells him to come home by renewing the covenant promise "I will be with you."
Let me pause for just a second on that. The fact that God has been working in Jacob’s life for the last 20 years is significant for us because sometimes we’re prone to only looking FORWARD to what God is going to do someday – whether that means in a few years or in heaven – but we have to ensure that we don’t fail to consider what God is doing TODAY!
The promise that God will be with him is rooted in God having been with him all this time. In addition, it’s perhaps the first tinge of the LORD beginning to reassure Jacob that upon his return home Esau will not kill him.
So Jacob looks around and takes stock of the situation he’s in and the command of God and he calls his wives to him in order to share the news. But part of what he says to them is what catches my eye look at this from VV 4-6.
First he finally begins to confess God has been at the root of all the blessing. This is a point of transformation and maturing for Jacob he is learning that to rely upon himself is not going to deliver him but that instead as he relies upon God he will be delivered.
But the sixth verse is really, what catches my eye.
NIV Genesis 31:6 You know that I’ve worked for your father with all my strength,
Now I happen to believe that Jacob’s telling the truth and that he’s on to something that helps us to find a little balance. You’ve heard of people who were “So heavenly minded they were no earthly good”? Well Jacob didn’t match up to that.
By working hard, he managed to fill in the gap and make an impact. When God says, “Go” we ought to add another application for Monday morning so that our behavior will not in some way destroy or malign the name of Jesus Christ. In fact if we want to take the third commandment found in Exodus 20:7 to it’s furthest degree; the act of taking the name of God in vain means more than using it as part of a swear word. But that if I am a believer and the world has marked me as a believer -- and then if my behavior as an ambassador of Christ is unfitting to that title -- in fact if my life is an exhibition of "unchristlikeness" than am I not by practice Taking the name of the Lord in vain? I think so.