Read the “0112 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read a previous post from this passage – “No More Jacob.“
“And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee. … Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels; And he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padanaram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan.” (Genesis 31:3, 17-18)
Jacob had lived in the land of Padanaram for twenty years, after fleeing from the wrath of his brother Esau (see Genesis 27:41). During that time, he married two wives and had twelve children, eleven of whom were sons and one daughter, Dinah. His twelfth son, Benjamin, would be born later (see Genesis 35:16 – 18). He also accumulated much wealth during his time there due to an arrangement with his father-in-law, Laban, which allowed him to keep certain of the cattle that were born as part of his wages. God had blessed both Jacob and his father-in-law mightily during his time in Padanaram, but it was time for Jacob to move on and follow the will of God for his family.
As we read this story in chapters 31 – 33, we learn that following the will of God isn’t going to be easy for Jacob or his family. First of all, he is taking his wives and children away from the only life that they knew. All of their extended family and friends were going to be left behind. It is never easy to leave the people you love, even if you are doing exactly what God wants you to do.
Secondly, Jacob would also have problems with his former boss and father-in-law, Laban. Laban and his sons had been blessed mightily as a result of God’s hand being upon Jacob. And, even though God had perhaps given Jacob more than Laban received, Laban was still far better off after twenty years of Jacob’s service than he was before Jacob arrived. Laban knew that Jacob was the reason that God was blessing him the way He was, and Laban didn’t want to lose those blessings. Sometimes people, even well-meaning people who love you, will try to prevent you from doing what God wants you to do because they are afraid that their lives will be worsened by your departure. The truth, however, is that if Jacob had disobeyed the Lord and stayed with Laban in Padanaram, the blessings of God would have ceased for all of them.
A third consideration in following the will of God is the uncertainty of what lies ahead. God does not often paint a vivid, detailed picture of all of the things that will happen in the future as we follow his will for our lives. Jacob was certainly concerned about what would happen to him when he arrived back in Canaan. There was that little matter that needed to be settled with his brother Esau who had threatened to kill him twenty years earlier. I am sure that Jacob was imagining the worse-case scenarios regarding his reunion with his brother. However, even though Jacob was very apprehensive to go back, he trusted that his God was going to be with him as he went, and he was right. When Jacob finally meets up with Esau, all is well. It can be a little scary following God into the unknown, but we must trust that God wants the absolute best for us and our families.
It would have been very easy for Jacob to resist the will of God and stay in his comfort zone, but he did the scary thing. He followed God into the unknown. But, God blessed both him and his family mightily. Don’t be afraid to trust God; or better, don’t let your fears keep you from following God’s will.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.