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Genesis 31:1-55 - Being Led by God - Part 2
Last week we covered the first couple verses in Genesis 3 and talked about envy and comparison. Now we dive into verse 3 where the Lord comes onto the scene.
Vs. 3-13 - “Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”
So Jacob sent word to Rachel and Leah to come out to the fields where his flocks were.
He said to them, “I see that your father’s attitude toward me is not what it was before, but the God of my father has been with me. You know that I’ve worked for your father with all my strength, yet your father has cheated me by changing my wages ten times. However, God has not allowed him to harm me. If he said, ‘The speckled ones will be your wages,’ then all the flocks gave birth to speckled young; and if he said, ‘The streaked ones will be your wages,’ then all the flocks bore streaked young. So God has taken away your father’s livestock and has given them to me.
“In breeding season I once had a dream in which I looked up and saw that the male goats mating with the flock were streaked, speckled or spotted. The angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob.’ I answered, ‘Here I am.’
And he said, ‘Look up and see that all the male goats mating with the flock are streaked, speckled or spotted, for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and go back to your native land.’”
Mark this in vs. 3 and 13 - The Word of God comes to Jacob and says: “Go Home.”
Vs. 14-16 - “Then Rachel and Leah replied, “Do we still have any share in the inheritance of our father’s estate? Does he not regard us as foreigners? Not only has he sold us, but he has used up what was paid for us. Surely all the wealth that God took away from our father belongs to us and our children. So do whatever God has told you.”
Here for the first time, as far as we can tell, these 2 sisters are in agreement! They are agreeing with Jacob, they are confirming where he wants to go with all this. “We know dad ripped us off, sold us like a couple pieces of property, and he’s already burned through the dowry.”
A dowry was that price paid by the groom to the father of the bride for the purpose of holding on to or invest, should that marriage not work out in the future, that the bride might have something to fall back on in terms of support. Vs. 15 lets us know that dear old dad burned through the dowry.
So the sisters here, none too happy with their father, no doubt they are very aware of his character, so these details are here recorded for us, that we might get hold of this man’s character as well.
What we have here is a wonderful picture of how it is that God leads us! What the text is laying out for us is the process by which God is leading this man, and, of course, we all struggle from time to time on just how it is that God leads us and how do I know that I’m in the will of God?
The first thing in this process began last week. The first thing that happens with Jacob is God places within the man’s heart certain DESIRES. You remember in ch. 30 Jacob initiates a discussion with Labon and he essentially says: “Look man, I’m ready to go home. I want to be with my family. I’ve served you honorably, I’ve paid my dues, I now have this longing in my heart, I wanna go back to my own country, the country that I came from...”
Hear this! I think one of the first things that you and I need to have a real sensitivity towards, as it concerns God leading us, is: “What are the desires that God put within me?”
- Luke 12:34 - “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
- Psalm 37:4 - “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
If you find yourself in a place of striving and sweating, if you are serving God in an area that’s a real hassle to you, there’s grief there - chances are good that that isn’t where God has called you. Christ said what? “My yoke is easy, my burden light.”
God calls us to something He’s built us for! He calls us to that which He has designed and created and wired us to be, such that, when we find it, man there’s gonna be a degree of satisfaction that we find there. One of the first things that we are to look for in God’s leading us are the desires that He has placed within our hearts.
The next thing we discover is that the Word of God comes to Jacob. The Lord tells him twice - “I want you to return to the land of your fathers.” So it is the Word of God that we are ultimately led by also!
We need to be very careful in this, very discerning because I don’t know about you, but I have plenty of desires in my fallen heart that do not align themselves with the Word of God, which takes us back to Ps. 37:4 - “In the Lord...”
Same as we see back in John 14:13-14 - “Whatever you ask IN MY NAME...”
Not whatever you ask in your name, but whatever you ask in the name of the Lord. In other words, consistent with HIS will and HIS Word, then it shall be done.
So God is leading Jacob here, and He puts in his heart a certain desire, and He brings His word to Jacob, and that word aligns very specifically with those desires.
The third thing is, notice the CIRCUMSTANCES in the man’s life. Notice the circumstances surrounding the man begin to fit quite well with the Word of God and the desires in his heart. There’s tension, conflict, strife, and all kinds of garbage here. Home never looked so good to the guy. The circumstances fit quite well here with God’s leading.
So the desires of the heart, the Word of God, the circumstances, and then finally notice - Jacob what?? Seeks the counsel of those closest to him!
He seeks the counsel and the confirmation of his wives.
The Bible tells us there is both wisdom and safety in the multitude of counsel:
- Prov. 11:14 - “For lack of guidance a nation fails, but victory is won through many advisers.”
- Prov. 15:22 - “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”
So we’re able to see here how the leading of God is just consistent at every turn and we are given some real insight into the process through which God leads us.
Join us next week as we conclude Chapter 31. Blessings to you all.