Title: Jacob Flees from Laban
Text: Genesis 31
The Blessing was three-fold: Blessing, Land, an Heritage. He has the Heritage – 4 wives; 12 kids; He has the blessing – wealth; Labans’ rd v 1; God has given him great wealth; now – he must return to his home to be given this last of the promise: rd v 2-3;
1. Jacob’s Plan to Leave (4-14)
- He lays his case before his wives
- The Situation (5-9)
- Your father has no regard or favor for me; 5a, 8,
- But God has protected me. 5b, 9,
- The Vision (10-13)
- The animals
- The call to go (13)
- Their Response (14-16)
- Hughes: Particularly grievous to Laban’s daughters was the ugly fact that their father had sold them and devoured the proceeds. The price of the bride (Jacob’s fourteen years of wages) was supposed to be held in trust in the event that they were abandoned or widowed. But Jacob’s long labor had benefited their father alone.
- The Situation (5-9)
- Jacob’s Flight From Laban (17-21)
- He packs up his family and property; (17-18)
- Laban’s business with work; rd 19a
- Rachel’s theft; rd 19b
- Jacob’s trickery; rd 20
- : Play on words: They both ‘stole the heart’ of (injured or wounded in the side); an English comparative might be – and the stole away in the night or Robbie Dupree from the 80’s: Why don’t we steal away into the night.
- rd v 21; I love this verse! So, picturesque; commercial break!
- Laban’s Pursuit of Jacob (22-)
exp.: rd v 22f; 3 days; 7 days; explain;
- Laban’s Dream: Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad. Rd v 24; So, Laban overtakes Jacob; rd v 25-29;
- Laban’s Accusation: Why did you steal my gods? We would think this would be something that she couldn’t hide; in 1 Samuel 19, Michal puts an image in the bed to make the soldiers think that David was asleep; these gods were pretty small – small enough to put in a saddlebag.
- Laban’s Search: rd v 31f; Wow! He just signed her death warrant, without even knowing it! rd v 33; explained: rd v 34f; the teraphim were probably small; see pictures on internet;
2. Jacob’s Declaration (36-42)
- I am innocent! Rd 36-37;
- I have been honest! Rd 38-39
- I have been Faithful! Rd 40
- You have been all the opposite: guilty, dishonest and unfaithful! Rd v 41-42
3. A Pact is Made (36-42)
- Two memorials: one a pillar and one a heap
- Two names: Jegar-sahadutha & Galeed; Mizpah – Hughes: The heap of stones was formed to bear witness to their mutual covenant. Laban gave the pile an Aramaic name, Jegar-sahadutha, and Jacob a Hebrew name, Galeed, both of which mean “the heap of witness.” Mizpah means “watchpost.” Interestingly, the careless reading of God’s Word as it is represented in the King James Version (“The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another,” v. 49) has given rise to the popular so-called “Mizpah benediction” that has been used on Christmas cards, inscribed inside wedding bands, and even used as a title for an organization! The Mizpah benediction was ignorantly interpreted to invoke union, fellowship, and trust. But this was the declaration of two men who neither trusted nor liked each other—“Because I don’t trust you out of my sight, may God watch your every move.”
- Laban swears by many gods – the gods of their fathers; Jacob swears by his God – the Fear of Isaac and offers:
- A Sacrifice and
- A Meal
- A boundary is set
- What a change we see in Jacob. God changes people – He’s in that business. Are you the same person you were 20 years ago?
- Work ethic
- His obedience to God
- God is faithfully fulfilling his promises to Jacob. He can be trusted with your life, too – even in the midst of turmoil and struggle.
- What passages come to mind as you think of God’s faithfulness? Phil 1.6; Rom 8.28ff; Eph 2.13-21;