Reading: Genesis 31:1-3, 17-24.
Jacob’s family (the church at that time) has grown. But it faces dangers. Jacob was in Padan Aran for over 14 years and is very wealthy. It is appealing to stay. But living in a heathen environment is dangerous; Laban’s family, including Rachel, serve idols (vs 30). Soon the church will be swallowed up by sin and idolatry. Laban’s sons are jealous of Jacob and are a threat. However, Jacob makes no move, therefore God intervenes and commands Jacob “Return to the land of your fathers and to your family” (Vs 3), that is, to the Promised Land. The church must be separated from unbelievers.
God again promises “and I will be with you” so that Jacob will always keep his mind fixed on the special covenant which God had made with Abraham and his posterity. Jacob obeys and leaves. Laban angrily pursues Jacob and wants to harm him (vs 29). But God intervenes and tells Laban “Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad” (vs 24). Later Laban tells Jacob this, reassuring Jacob that God guards him. It encourages him for the uncertain future. We too are encouraged, because we have the same promises. So when our lives do not go as we wish, or when we face hardship, we remember that God is with us. And “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). How comforting this is!
Key text: Genesis 31:3 “Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you.”
Question: How secure do you feel about the future? Why?