By Scott Brown
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Waverly
For 20 years Jacob had served Laban far from his own home. God had blessed all of Jacob’s work and shown him great favor. As Jacob prospered, Laban and his sons took notice and their attitudes began to change toward Jacob.
Laban, who was so eager to have Jacob with him twenty years previously was now growing increasingly bitter toward him. Like it or not, their relationship was headed toward a break.
This is when God tells Jacob it is time to go home.
As I read this account, I’m reminded how God often leads individuals even now through His Word, their outer circumstances, and their inner heart. God used all three to get Jacob’s attention and prepare him and his family to go home.
God began changing Jacob’s circumstances as they became increasingly unpleasant and frustrating.
There have been numerous times God has used my changing circumstances to cause me to consider what I might not have been willing before. God’s favor upon Jacob brought disfavor from Laban and his sons.
The circumstances had also changed for Leah and Rachel as they began to see they had no future in their father’s home as well.
The changing circumstances led to a frustration in Jacob’s heart. Jacob had endured consistent deceit from Laban and it doesn’t seem to have gotten to him until now because God had protected him through it all.
It’s a dangerous thing for a believer to try to discern God’s leading merely by our feelings and our circumstances for the heart is desperately wicked and these can both be misleading. Jacob’s circumstances changed and his heart had changed but he doesn’t act until God speaks.
The authority of God’s Word translates the yearnings of our heart and the meaning of our situations and sufferings.
Jacob was surrounded by those who mistreated and maligned him regularly.
He had endured the deceit and the jealousy in varying degrees for 20 years but it was at this moment that God had spoken clearly to Him and was sending him back home.
It’s likely Jacob considered going home many times before but he stayed put in spite of everything he suffered until God finally spoke.
This point cannot be overstated: a Christian in God’s will must be a Christian in God’s Word. No matter his frustration, Jacob waited patiently upon the Lord.
Our feelings and our circumstances can mislead and deceive us but God’s Word never will. Jacob acts only and immediately after God speaks. This must also be true for the believer today.
We must seek to do God’s will God’s way in God’s time according to God’s Word so we might have God’s blessing upon us just like Jacob in this text.