Jacob Series: Faithfully Following God (Gen 31)

May 5, 2018

 

Faithfully Following God

 

Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were complaining, “Jacob has taken everything that belonged to our father! He has gotten rich at our father’s expense!” When Jacob saw the look on Laban’s face, he could tell his attitude toward him had changed. The Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives. I will be with you.” So Jacob sent a message for Rachel and Leah to come to the field where his flocks were. There he said to them, “I can tell that your father’s attitude toward me has changed, but the God of my father has been with me. You know that I’ve worked for your father as hard as I could, but your father has humiliated me and changed my wages ten times. But God has not permitted him to do me any harm. If he said, ‘The speckled animals will be your wage,’ then the entire flock gave birth to speckled offspring. But if he said, ‘The streaked animals will be your wage,’ then the entire flock gave birth to streaked offspring. In this way God has snatched away your father’s livestock and given them to me. “Once during breeding season I saw in a dream that the male goats mating with the flock were streaked, speckled, and spotted. In the dream the angel of God said to me, ‘Jacob!’ ‘Here I am!’ I replied. Then he said, ‘Observe that all the male goats mating with the flock are streaked, speckled, or spotted, for I have observed all that Laban has done to you. I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the sacred stone and made a vow to me. Now leave this land immediately and return to your native land.’” Then Rachel and Leah replied to him, “Do we still have any portion or inheritance in our father’s house? Hasn’t he treated us like foreigners? He not only sold us, but completely wasted the money paid for us! Surely all the wealth that God snatched away from our father belongs to us and to our children. So now do everything God has told you.” So Jacob immediately put his children and his wives on the camels. He took away all the livestock he had acquired in Paddan Aram and all his moveable property that he had accumulated. Then he set out toward the land of Canaan to return to his father Isaac. While Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole the household idols that belonged to her father.  Jacob also deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him that he was leaving. He left with all he owned. He quickly crossed the Euphrates River and headed for the hill country of Gilead…

Genesis 31

 

 

How can we faithfully follow God?

 

In Genesis 28, when Jacob left his family to pursue a wife, God appeared to Jacob and told him that he would be with him and bring him back to Canaan. Now, twenty years, two wives, twelve children, and many flocks later, it was time for Jacob to return. While overseeing Laban’s flocks for the last six years, Jacob used innovative techniques to help the flocks bear dark colored sheep and multi-colored goats, which were his, according to his business deal with Laban. Because of this, Jacob became wealthy—in fact, he became wealthier than Laban (v. 1). Though he was prospering, God spoke to him in a dream and told him to return home.

 

In this narrative, Jacob looks like an Abrahamic figure—obeying God and leaving Haran for the promised land (Gen 12). As we consider this passage, we learn principles about how we can faithfully follow God as well.

 

Big Question: What principles can we discern about faithfully following God from Jacob’s leaving Laban to return home?

 

To Faithfully Follow God, We Must Discern God’s Will

 

Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were complaining, “Jacob has taken everything that belonged to our father! He has gotten rich at our father’s expense!” When Jacob saw the look on Laban’s face, he could tell his attitude toward him had changed. The Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives. I will be with you.” So Jacob sent a message for Rachel and Leah to come to the field where his flocks were. There he said to them, “I can tell that your father’s attitude toward me has changed, but the God of my father has been with me. You know that I’ve worked for your father as hard as I could, but your father has humiliated me and changed my wages ten times. But God has not permitted him to do me any harm.  If he said, ‘The speckled animals will be your wage,’ then the entire flock gave birth to speckled offspring. But if he said, ‘The streaked animals will be your wage,’ then the entire flock gave birth to streaked offspring. In this way God has snatched away your father’s livestock and given them to me…

Genesis 31:1-16

 

While Jacob was working for Laban, Laban’s sons began to complain against him. They declared that Jacob had taken everything away from their father and gotten rich off him (v. 1). Of course, that wasn’t true. Jacob had a fair deal with Laban and had profited from the deal. What was really happening was the sons were jealous. Sons typically would receive their father’s inheritance, and since Jacob was earning many of Laban’s flocks, the sons saw their inheritance diminishing. But not only were Laban’s sons upset, so was Laban. His countenance had changed towards Jacob (v. 2).

 

As Jacob discerns this, he calls for his two wives to meet with him in the field. He shares how God told him to return to his homeland. He also shares how he had worked hard for Laban, but Laban changed his wages ten times. The women replied how Laban had treated them like foreigners. He sold them and used up all the money he gained without giving them any (v. 15). It seems the daughters were hoping that the money would be used as a dowry instead of a bride price. With a dowry, the money would eventually be given to the daughters to help with their marriage[1] or kept for them in case their husband died. However, Laban spent the fourteen years of Jacob’s earnings. Rachel and Leah agreed, probably for the first time since they married Jacob. It was time to go!

 

In order for Jacob to follow God, he needed to clearly discern God’s will, which was for him to leave Laban and return to Canaan. We must also clearly discern God’s will in order to faithfully follow him. “What university should we go to? What major should we choose? Who should we marry? What job should we take? What type of schooling should we give our children?” In order to follow God’s will, we must many times discern God’s answers to questions like these.

 

Observation Question: What principles about discerning God’s will can be gained from Genesis 31?

 

1. To discern God’s will, we must consider our hearts’ desires.

 

In Genesis 30, Jacob approached Laban and said, “Give me my wives and children and let me go home” (v. 25 paraphrase). After that, Laban encouraged him to stay by offering to make him a partner in the business. However, Jacob’s desire to leave Haran and return home, never left him.

 

This is one of the ways that God guides us into his perfect will—he places certain desires in our hearts. Philippians 2:12-13 says,

 

So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, continue working out your salvation with awe and reverence, for the one bringing forth in you both the desire and the effort—for the sake of his good pleasure—is God.

 

God works in us first by giving us the desire to do something and then the power (or effort) to do it. Jacob’s desire to return home was put in his heart by God six years earlier and later confirmed. Often God does the same with us. He gives us a desire to study his Word more, pray more, and serve in various ways. He also works in our hearts to help us make “major” decisions like who to marry, what job to take, or where to live.

 

With that said, we must recognize that our hearts can be led astray, and their desires are not always godly. In fact, our hearts’ desires often are against God’s will. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” It is not only deceitful but often confusing. However, when we are walking with God, living in prayer, his Word, and obedience, God often speaks through our hearts. Psalm 37:4 (ESV) says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Therefore, in discerning God’s will, we must consider our desires.

 

In my counseling, I often come across students who are worried God has given them the gift of singleness and that they will be single all their lives. So I ask them, “Do you desire to be single and serve God without any distractions, like a spouse or children?” When they say, “No!” I tell them most likely that’s not their gifting, and if it is, God will give them those desires later. It’s the same with a call to ministry. Yes, initially, we may say, “No!” But God continues to work on our hearts until we are willing and it’s our pleasure.

 

As we’re seeking to discern God’s will, we must ask ourselves, “What are my desires?”

 

2. To discern God’s will, we must consider our circumstances.

 

With Jacob, God, in his sovereignty, allowed Laban’s sons to become jealous of him and for Laban’s countenance to change towards him. Sure, God was prospering Jacob, which might have seemed like a reason to stay, but his relationships had become toxic. This was part of the way God was leading Jacob to return home.

 

It’s the same with us. God leads us to his will not only by changing our desires but often by changing our circumstances. Ephesians 1:11 says God “accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will.” God uses all circumstances to accomplish his will, and therefore, circumstances are often like guide posts for us. God guides us by opening and closing doors. That relationship that ended—most likely wasn’t the one to marry. That job which wasn’t offered—probably wasn’t the right job. Closed doors are especially instructive. Instead of being discouraged by them, we should look at them as God’s guidance and give God thanks for them. Through them he says, “I have something better!”

 

3. To discern God’s will, we must consider God’s Word.

 

As mentioned, while working, Jacob had a dream where God called him to return to his homeland. Since the Scriptures were not yet written during that time, God often spoke in more charismatic ways. God may still speak through charismatic ways today; however, the primary way God speaks to us is through Scripture. Even our seemingly divine promptings must be tested and confirmed by Scripture, as God will never contradict his Word (cf. 1 Cor 12:3, 14:29). Again, God primarily speaks to us through his Word. In Psalm 119:105, David said, “Your word is a lamp to walk by, and a light to illumine my path.” While we are in God’s Word, God turns the lights are on, so we can better discern his direction. When we’re not faithfully studying God’s Word, we will lack clarity.

 

Are you living in God’s Word?

 

4. To discern God’s will, we must seek godly counsel.

 

With Jacob, though he had strong desires, circumstances, and a Divine dream, he still sought the counsel of his wives. Rachel and Leah confirmed Jacob’s discernment; it was time to leave. In the same way, in order for us to discern God’s will, we must seek the counsel of others. God has made the church a body, and therefore, we are dependent upon one another. The eye can’t say to the hand I don’t need you. Many times, God will use somebody else in the body to be our eyes—to help us see our circumstances differently and to help us discern the best possible route to take. Proverbs 20:18 says, “Plans are established by counsel, so make war with guidance.” Proverbs 11:14 says, “there is success in the abundance of counselors.”

 

Who are your counselors who help you discern God’s will and have success?

 

Apart from Scriptures’ clear leading on moral issues, the other avenues by which God leads us must be tested and not taken absolutely. Difficult circumstances don’t always mean it’s time to quit. Peace doesn’t always mean it’s time to stay. Nor does the counsel of others always constitute God’s will. We must weigh all of these together—often God will guide us through a combination of these. With Jacob, all of these combined—giving him strong confirmation of God’s will. Many times, God will do the same with us.

 

Application Question: In what ways have you experienced God’s guidance through a combination of desires, circumstances, his Word, and godly counsel? In what ways are you currently seeking God’s direction? Who are your counselors, whom you go to for help in discerning God’s will?

 

To Faithfully Follow God, We Must Be Careful of Fear

 

While Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole the household idols that belonged to her father.  Jacob also deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him that he was leaving. He left with all he owned. He quickly crossed the Euphrates River and headed for the hill country of Gilead…“I left secretly because I was afraid!” Jacob replied to Laban. “I thought you might take your daughters away from me by force.

Genesis 31:19-21, 31

 

With Jacob and his family, instead of firmly telling Laban that they would be leaving for Canaan, they deceptively packed up and immediately left. Even Moses, the narrator says Jacob “deceived Laban” (v. 20). They had lived together for twenty years, were business partners, and were family. However, Jacob quickly leaves without saying good bye. It is possible to do God’s will in a sinful way. Sometimes God may lead us to confront somebody in sin; however, it is probably not God’s will for us to yell at that person or, worse, slap him in the face. Jacob obeys God but in a deceptive way, which brought negative consequences. He could have lost his favorite wife Rachel, who stole Laban’s household gods (v. 19). When Laban catches them, Jacob swears that whoever stole the gods would die. It is interesting that though Rachel wasn’t caught, she, not many years later, dies while giving birth to Jacob’s thirteenth child, Benjamin (Gen 35).

 

The way Jacob left was not an act of faith but an act of fear. Isaiah 28:16 says, “…The one who maintains his faith will not panic.” In fact, it seems that Rachel’s stealing of Laban’s gods was an act of fear as well. Some believe her stealing of the gods meant that she still worshiped them. However, the theft may have been more of an insurance policy. The Syrian root of the word for household gods (teraphim) means “to inquire.”[2] Laban probably used these idols to inquire and seek direction. Earlier, Laban said that he had learned through “divination” that God was blessing him because of Jacob (Gen 30:25). So Rachel, instead of trusting God, might have been trying to keep Laban from discerning their whereabouts through divination. Another possibility is that she took them, as proof of their property rights. Tablets from an ancient Mesopotamian tribe called the Nuzis showed that household gods were used to demonstrate who was the heir to the family’s property.[3] Again, if that was the reason, Rachel was making sure that nobody could say that Jacob stole the flocks from Laban. Also, in the future, her intention might have been for Jacob to claim all of Laban’s property.

 

Either way, both Jacob and Rachel’s actions were not based on faith but fear. Jacob later shares that he left without confirming for fear that Laban would keep his wives (v. 31). Rachel, probably, feared losing their stuff. Neither trusted God.

 

Colossians 3:15 (NIV) says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts.” Fear will lead us away from doing God’s will instead of into God’s will. Sadly, many are ruled by fear instead of God’s peace. They are worried about the economy. They are worried about finding a spouse. They are worried about their health. Many times, their fears lead them into irrational thinking and then ungodly decisions. Fear guides them instead of God’s peace.

 

When Abraham was afraid of losing his wife, he lied and said she was his sister (Gen 12). In the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:24-25, the servant with one talent, instead of investing to make a profit, because of fear, hid it in the ground. He said,

 

…‘Sir, I knew that you were a hard man, harvesting where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.

 

Fear kept him from faithfully following the master and doing his will. This is often true for us. Fear keeps us from taking steps of faith and trusting God. Fear keeps us from serving, as we feel incompetent and that we might fail. When God approached Moses about leading Israel, it was fear that almost kept him from his blessings. Moses said, “But God, I can’t speak, and I can’t lead.” After God approached Gideon about leading Israel, he replied, “I’m from the least tribe in Israel, and I’m the least in my family. I’m a nobody! God you’ve got the wrong guy!” Fear almost kept them from faithfully following God. It often does the same with us.

 

Are you being led by fear or by faith?

 

Application Question: What types of fears do you struggle with that potentially could hinder your walk with the Lord? How should we conquer our fears?

 

To Faithfully Follow God, We Must Be Careful of the World’s Influence

 

Three days later Laban discovered Jacob had left. So he took his relatives with him and pursued Jacob for seven days. He caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead. But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and warned him, “Be careful that you neither bless nor curse Jacob.” Laban overtook Jacob, and when Jacob pitched his tent in the hill country of Gilead, Laban and his relatives set up camp there too. “What have you done?” Laban demanded of Jacob. “You’ve deceived me and carried away my daughters as if they were captives of war! Why did you run away secretly and deceive me? Why didn’t you tell me so I could send you off with a celebration complete with singing, tambourines, and harps? You didn’t even allow me to kiss my daughters and my grandchildren good-bye. You have acted foolishly!  I have the power to do you harm, but the God of your father told me last night, ‘Be careful that you neither bless nor curse Jacob.’ Now I understand that you have gone away because you longed desperately for your father’s house. Yet why did you steal my gods?” …

Genesis 31:22-42

 

After three days, Laban found out that Jacob had left. Immediately, Laban gathered his relatives and pursued Jacob for seven days and finally caught up with him. However, in a dream at night, the Lord warned Laban, saying, “Be careful that you neither bless nor curse Jacob” (v. 24). This Hebrew expression, in the context, seems to mean, “Don’t use either flattery or threats to try to persuade Jacob to return.”[4] Laban’s original plan must have been to make Jacob return either by blessing, like a sweeter business deal, or a curse, like taking Jacob’s wives and children. However, God forbade him from doing so. God kept Laban from hindering Jacob’s obedience.

 

Laban is a picture of the world. He lived for money and riches and was willing deceive and hurt others in order to get them—including hurting his family. He had a form of religion—an awareness of God—but didn’t follow him. In fact, he worshiped many gods. He did appeal to the true God when it was convenient, as he said earlier to Jacob, “I’ve been blessed by Yahweh because of you” (Gen 30:27). Laban was a manipulator. He made promises to Jacob throughout their relationship and continually backed out of them. He manipulated and attempted to control Jacob, by promises or threats.

 

The world does the same with us. It will offer us blessings, like wealth, popularity, or promotion, if we’ll follow and turn away from God. If not, it will threaten us, whether by harassment, the loss of riches or opportunities for it, imprisonment, death, etc. As an example, Satan offered Christ the world if he would only bow down and worship him. When he didn’t, Satan used the world to put Christ on the cross. Judas betrayed Christ for money. Demas deserted Paul because of love for the world. Like Laban, the world continually seeks to keep us away from doing God’s will, and it uses blessings or threats to do so.

 

Consider the following verses: Romans 12:2 says,

 

Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God—what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.

 

The world aims to press and mold us into its image. When we conform—through adopting its language, thought-processes, and practices—the less we are able to test and approve God’s will. Not only will be unable to follow God, we won’t even be able to discern his will.

 

Second Corinthians 6:14-18 says,

 

Do not become partners with those who do not believe, for what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship does light have with darkness? And what agreement does Christ have with Beliar? Or what does a believer share in common with an unbeliever?... Therefore “come out from their midst, and be separate,” says the Lord, “and touch no unclean thing, and I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,” says the All-Powerful Lord.

 

Paul speaks to the Corinthians and calls for them to separate from the world and not partner with it. If they obeyed this, God would welcome them and be a father to them. Since the Corinthian church was already believers, this referred to intimacy, answered prayer, and God’s blessing. Many believers are missing God’s best because of their partnership with a system and people who hate God. The entertainment they listen to and watch teaches sexual immorality and ungodliness. The people they admire, fellowship with, and aim to model, do the same. Because of these worldly partnerships and their negative influence, many believers lack intimacy with God, their Father.

 

If we are going to follow God, we must be careful of worldly influences—whether they come from friends, family, or employers, like Laban. We must be in the world but not of it. We must minister to it and yet be separate from it. Many fail to faithfully follow God because of the world’s negative influence—whether it be from the world’s promises of blessings or threats.

 

Are you separating from the world or partnering with it? Are you influencing the world or being conformed to it?

 

Application Question: In what ways does the world promise blessings if we conform to it and curses if we don’t? How can we be in the world and positively influence it, and yet practice a healthy separation from it? How have you experienced stagnation in your spiritual life because of enjoying the world and its promises instead of God and his?

 

To Faithfully Follow God, We Must Trust Him

 

…So now, come, let’s make a formal agreement, you and I, and it will be proof that we have made peace.” So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a memorial pillar. Then he said to his relatives, “Gather stones.” So they brought stones and put them in a pile. They ate there by the pile of stones.  Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha, but Jacob called it Galeed.  Laban said, “This pile of stones is a witness of our agreement today.” That is why it was called Galeed.  It was also called Mizpah because he said, “May the Lord watch between us when we are out of sight of one another. If you mistreat my daughters or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no one else is with us, realize that God is witness to your actions.”  “Here is this pile of stones and this pillar I have set up between me and you,” Laban said to Jacob. “This pile of stones and the pillar are reminders that I will not pass beyond this pile to come to harm you and that you will not pass beyond this pile and this pillar to come to harm me. May the God of Abraham and the god of Nahor, the gods of their father, judge between us.” Jacob took an oath by the God whom his father Isaac feared. Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain and invited his relatives to eat the meal. They ate the meal and spent the night on the mountain. Early in the morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters goodbye and blessed them. Then Laban left and returned home.

Genesis 31:30-55

 

After Laban tracks down Jacob, he confronts him—first saying how he wanted to throw a party and kiss his daughters and children goodbye—probably not true—and how Jacob acted foolishly (v. 27-28). He later says, “Why did you take my gods?” (v. 30). Jacob, unaware that Rachel stole them, foolishly declared that whoever had them would die. Laban searches everything Jacob had—all of his tents and yet found nothing. When he reaches Rachel, who is sitting on her camel, she asks for permission to not stand because it is her time of month. Laban doesn’t distrust her—probably because he assumes that she would never sit on the family’s deities, which would have been, to them, blasphemous.

 

When Laban couldn’t find his gods, Jacob challenges him in front of their relatives (v. 36-42). Twenty years of frustrations came out of his mouth. Laban had changed his wages ten times. Every time a lamb was taken, Laban charged Jacob for it. Jacob worked day and night, in hot and cold, to care for Laban’s flocks, and the only reason Laban hadn’t hurt Jacob was out of fear for Isaac’s God and Isaac.

 

After a mutual sharing of complaints, Laban requests a nonaggression agreement (v. 44). Jacob gathers stones together as witnesses of this agreement. He names them “Galeed,” which in Hebrew means “the heap of witness.” Laban named it “Jegar-sahadutha,” which in Aramaic means the same (v. 47). The stone memorial was also called “Mizpah,” which means “watchpost” (v. 49).[5] There Laban swore to the God of Abraham and the god of Nahor, and Jacob swore to the God Isaac feared—the true God (v. 53).

 

By swearing, Jacob promised to not mistreat Laban’s daughters or take other wives. He also promised to never return to Haran and try to harm Laban. Laban promised the same. If either one of them broke these promises, it was believed that the deities they swore by would judge them. After their oaths, they ate together, which, in the East, represented a binding agreement.

 

Laban’s oath was superstitious, as he believed in many gods, but Jacob’s was based on true faith in Yahweh, God. In Genesis 28, at Bethel, God promised to be with him, bless him, and bring him back to the land. God was faithful and had protected Jacob. When Jacob acted hastily and left Laban, God warned Laban in his sleep to not harm him. Jacob had seen God’s faithfulness and believed that God would continue to be faithful. God would be with Jacob, protect him, and curse those who mistreated him. Therefore, Jacob’s memorial was an act of faith in God.

 

Similarly, if we are going to follow God, we must trust his promises. He will protect us; he will be with us; he will bless us; he will use everything, including bad things, for our good. The very reason many of us aren’t faithfully following God is because we don’t trust him. We don’t trust that he has good plans for us. Eve sinned against God because she doubted his goodness. We often do the same.

 

If we are going to faithfully follow God along life’s windy road, we must settle in our hearts to trust him. Trusting him starts with receiving Christ as our Lord and Savior (Rom 10:9-10). Because God loves us, he sent Christ to live on this earth and die for us to pay the penalty for our sins. All of us have sinned against God and because of that we deserve death (Rom 3:23, 6:23). However, God paid the penalty, so we can have a relationship with him and spend eternity with him (John 17:3). When we accept Christ as our Lord, we become God’s children (John 1:12). God promises that he will never leave us nor forsake us (Matt 28:20) and that he will use all our circumstances, even bad ones, for our good—to make us into Christ’s image (Rom 8:28-29). God has good plans for his children, but we have to trust and follow him. Psalm 37:3-5 says,

 

Trust in the Lord and do what is right! Settle in the land and maintain your integrity! Then you will take delight in the Lord, and he will answer your prayers. Commit your future to the Lord! Trust in him, and he will act on your behalf.

 

When we trust God, he will act on our behalf. Faith is the key to unlocking all God’s promises including salvation, having our needs met, and being used by him. Have you followed Christ as your Lord? Are you willing to follow him wherever he leads? If so, God will act on your behalf and use you for his purposes. If we don’t trust God fully, we will miss God’s best and will be prone to sin and rebellion.

 

Application Question: In what areas do you struggle with trusting God most and why? How can we grow in our faith, so that we trust God more?

 

To Faithfully Follow God, We Must Live at Peace with Others

 

So now, come, let’s make a formal agreement, you and I, and it will be proof that we have made peace.”

Genesis 31:44

 

It must be noticed that God does not allow Jacob to return to Canaan without making things right with Laban. After the pact, they weren’t best friends, but at least, there was mutual respect and an agreement to not harm each other. In the next chapters, God opens the door for Jacob to reconcile with Esau, who Jacob swindled out of his birthright twenty years earlier.

 

Similarly, if we are going to faithfully follow God, we must reconcile our relationships as well. This is emphasized throughout the New Testament. In Matthew 5:23-24, Christ taught if we were going to offer a gift to God and recognized that somebody had something against us, we should leave the gift, reconcile, and then offer the gift to God. In Matthew 6:15, Christ taught that if we didn’t forgive others, God would not forgive us. In 1 Peter 3:7, Peter cautioned husbands to be considerate of their wives, lest their prayers be hindered.

 

Our horizontal relationships affect our vertical relationship. If we are out of fellowship with others, we will not be in right fellowship with God, and vice versa. Romans 12:11 says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people.” We can’t change people hearts, but we can do our part to live at peace, even if that means being separate from one another as Jacob and Laban chose to do.

 

What relationship is God calling you to reconcile, so you can faithfully follow him?

 

Application Question: In what ways have you experienced how discord with others hinders our relationship with God? Are there any relationships God is calling you to reconcile?

 

Conclusion

 

In Genesis 31, Jacob follows God’s call to leave Haran for the promised land. Like his grandfather Abraham, he takes a step of faith. Leaving wasn’t easy, but it was God’s will for his life. As we consider this, it teaches us principles about how we can faithfully follow God—despite our circumstances.

 

  1. To Faithfully Follow God, We Must Discern God’s Will

  2. To Faithfully Follow God, We Must Be Careful of Fear

  3. To Faithfully Follow God, We Must Be Careful of the World’s Influence

  4. To Faithfully Follow God, We Must Trust Him

  5. To Faithfully Follow God, We Must Live at Peace with Others

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Boice, J. M. (1998). Genesis: an expositional commentary (p. 803). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

 

[2] Pink, Arthur W.. Gleanings in Genesis (p. 333). Neeland Media LLC. Kindle Edition.

 

[3] Preacher's Outline and Sermon Bible - Commentary - The Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible – Genesis II.

 

[4] Steven Cole’s sermon on Genesis 31, Accessed 4/27/2018, from https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-57-between-rock-and-hard-place-genesis-3117-55

 

[5] Hughes, R. K. (2004). Genesis: beginning and blessing (p. 395). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

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