Home » Thursday: Jacob Leaves    


Thursday: Jacob Leaves — 12 Comments

  1. In our modern high-speed world, we want everything done yesterday. We order something online and wait impatiently for the knock on the door for the delivery. We travel somewhere and get impatient because the traffic is slow, the trains are not running on time, or there is a delay at the airport.

    As I mentioned last week, Carmel and I went to Norfolk Island for a holiday. Our return journey was delayed by a day because the incoming plane had a bird-strike on landing and had to be certified by engineers that it was safe to fly again. There are no aeronautical engineers on Norfolk Island so that meant we had to stay overnight. With a staff of about 6 people at the airport, it took about three hours to get us accommodated for the night. Most of the passengers took it in good grace, but some were clearly upset at the delay and took their frustration out on the staff, even though they were clearly not to blame.

    We look at the story of Jacob and the period of 14 years he worked for Laban. We feel frustrated for Jacob because we want him to get back to Canaan and work on the job of securing the Promised Land. However, the delay was also a period of growth and development for Jacob.

    I have mentioned recently the failures in my educational past. I took 2 extra years to complete my first degree and that time included a period of work in a concrete pipe factory. I needed that. The hiatus in my study gave me a clear vision of what I wanted to do in life, and what God had planned for me. Incidently it also gave me sufficient money to start paying for my own education rather than depending on Dad and Mum! It would have been nice to have finished my degree on time, but I had other learning to do.

    We sometimes get impatient with God. Most of that impatience is of our own making. Seventh-day Adventists have an expectation that Jesus will come soon and many of us think that the 200 odd years we have been preaching the gospel is starting to stretch the notion of soon. We may need to visit the notion that waiting time is development time.

    Jacob used his "wait-time" working for Laban. It was not easy but it gave him the time to grow and develop so that he could face the issues of returning to Canaan with confidence.

    What are we doing with our "wait-time"?

  2. Since I'm very active, it is hard for me to stop and wait, by doing nothing. I have to be running around so time goes by and I feel "I'm doing something!". But the Lord has different plans sometimes. I have to learn to wait for the right time! Thank God because He already sent His Son for us! Now it is our time to wait for Him to come back to us!

  3. How long did Jacob work for Laban?
    Gen 31:41 MKJV  And I have been twenty years in your house. I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six for your flocks. And you have changed my wages ten times.
    Laban and his sons were happy for Jacob to work for them to pay the dowry (or lobola - which is still done in Southern Africa) however when he started working to earn cattle and sheep for himself and the LORD blessed him then they became envious and dangerous and the LORD told Jacob to leave and go back to Canaan.

  4. My thoughts started a few days ago with Jacob's plight and flight, knowing the story, I thought but did not mention till today to refrain from getting ahead of the story, Jacob in the end did not need the birthright. When we look at what God did for Jacob after he fled and left his family and birthright behind, we see the blessings insurmountable that God poors out when we wait on Him. Pays to wait on the Lord. Maurice while we are waiting we can follow Jacob's example and work. 20 years goes by fast when you are keeping yourself busy. At least when you look back on it.

    • When Esau tells Jacob to keep all the animals he tried to give Esau, we see that God well provided for him as well. Esau was cheated by Jacob, but in the end had more than he needed, to the extent that he did not need for Jacob to pay him back.

  5. Blessings came from God even through deceptions, as we have seen in these recent studies.

    I'm going to make a statement now and I expect more criticism !

    Has God the Father lovingly allow himself to be *deceived* by us humans, as we cover ourselves with the mantle of Jesus in his Work for us ?

    Obviously ambiguise to make a point of substitutionary salvation.

    What sort of an effect does this substitutionary/vicarious salvation have on you, since we don't deserve it, as we cover ourselves ?
    Does it explain *deception* in this study, in a different light ?


    • Lari, I don’t believe that blessings come from God even through deceptions. I believe, that when God chooses to bless, blessings can come from God despite deception. There is a difference. Just because all things work together for good does not mean that all things are good. Even when all things have worked for good, there are negative consequences for choosing to use deception. Only God knows how much better the good would have been had deception not taken place.

      God the Father has not lovingly allowed himself to be *deceived* by us as we cover ourselves with the mantle of Jesus. It is not deception when we allow Christ to cover us with His righteousness. It is a humble acknowledgement that we are sinners in need of a Saviour.

      It is deception when we claim to have surrendered to Christ but fail to allow him to be Lord over our lives. However, it is not God who is deceived. We may deceive ourselves. We may even deceive others, but God is not mocked. Should we choose to feign godliness, one day the veil of our self-righteousness will be removed, and we will stand naked as we truly are.

      What effect does this substitutionary/vicarious salvation have on me since I don't deserve it? It compels me. It draws me to a love so great, a grace unfathomable. It brings me to my knees. Oh, what a Saviour! Oh, what a God!

      • It's *hyperbole* showing we are the deceivers, as we put on Jesus !

        It shows the Fathers great love and our fallen nature !

        *hyperbole* = Jesus said pluck out your eye, if it causes sins !

    • I have often puzzled over the substitutionary salvation model because it does not align with God’s words, actions or character when dealing with the sin problem—a problem that results from distrust of God’s character, misinterpretation of his deeds and disbelief in his word.

      When Adam and Eve sinned and God clothed them with animal skins, there was absolutely nothing deceptive in his actions. God is not trying to make believe that mankind is something other than what they are. Instead, God was symbolically preaching the Gospel to our fallen parents, that is, enacting Genesis 3:15. As Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, KJV.)

      These animal skins represent “putting on Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 3:27.) As the apostle Paul writes:

      All of you who were baptized into the Messiah have clothed yourselves with the Messiah. Because all of you are one in the Messiah Jesus, a person is no longer a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a free person, a male or a female. And if you belong to the Messiah, then you are Abraham's descendants indeed, and heirs according to the promise.
      Galatians 3:27-29 ISV

      It is by identifying with Jesus that we are made into his image and become God’s children. This is what the sacrificial system teaches. This is the point that Jesus was making when (at the last supper) he used the analogy of the vine and branches. This is the point he was making in prayer in John 17:23 “I am in them, and you are in me. May they be completely one, so that the world may know that you sent me and that you have loved them as you loved me.”

      This is why the writers of the Christian testament write of being “in Christ” and of being “in him” and of believing “in him” over and over again. This is why Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 ISV.) There is no other name (character) under heaven by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12.)

      Again, there is nothing deceptive, no self-deceiving, no deceiving God, no deceiving others. It is all about Jesus and “wearing” him—being one with him—so that his love will be fully evident in our lives and to others. This is what the sacrificial system teaches.

      • How Does God Deal With Sin?

        Puzzling over the Atonement is a worthy endeavor, considering all the worthless things that appear to demand our attention in this world. 🙂 In fact, I understand that we will be studying the mysteries of the Atonement for eternity. Thus, we should expect that it is not all that easy to understand and explain.

        You wrote that

        "the substitutionary salvation model because it does not align with God’s words, actions or character when dealing with the sin problem"

        So let us review the record of God's dealing with the sin problem, according to the biblical record:

        God said that Adam and Eve would die the day they ate of the tree, but they didn't die that day. Instead, some animals died so God could cover their nakedness. That was substitution.

        (I also like your suggestion that "animal skins represent 'putting on Jesus Christ.' (Galatians 3:27.)" Thus what happened in Eden represents both the penal substitutionary death of Christ and His power to stop sinning - two primary aspects of the Atonement. Beautiful!)

        To teach Abraham more about the plan of salvation, God asked him to offer up his only son as a sacrifice. But Isaac didn't die. A ram caught in a thicket died in his place on the altar prepared for the occasion. That was substitution.

        In the Israelites' last night in Egypt, all the first-born in Egypt died - except for those sheltered in the homes with blood on the door posts from the lamb offered in that household. The Angel of the Lord "passed over" the homes sheltered by the blood of the slain lamb. And ever since, the Israelites celebrated the Passover. That was substitution.

        Moreover the whole sacrificial system of the sanctuary, which was central to the lives of Israelites, is based on the substitutionary death of animals, which were a type (some would call it a "shadow") of the real sacrifice for sins, Jesus Christ Himself. These types never took away sin. Then, as now, only faith in the Atonement of Christ had the power to take away sin. The animal offerings were given as tangible evidence of that faith. (See Hebrews 11)

        Like Isaac, Jesus voluntarily offered Himself as the Lamb that would take away the sins of the world.

        What many people forget in their zeal to make the Atonement understandable is that it is multi-faceted and will be an object of study for eternity. But for starters, the penal substitutionary death of Christ takes away the sins committed by those putting their trust in Him. That aspect is called justification. At the same time, Christ's atoning death provides the power to live a life of victory over sin for all who claim this power by faith - the "taking away" of the habit of sinning. We usually call that aspect sanctification.

        There is no other way of salvation except by grace through faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ, and you have stated one aspect of this (sanctification) very well. However, a sinner who stops sinning is still guilty of the sins he has committed. A murderer who stops murdering does not become innocent of murder. The guilt of sins committed does not go away by itself - neither in the eyes of heaven nor in the judicial system of our land. That's what the "justification" aspect of the atonement remedies.

        Just recently I discovered an essay on the Penal Substitutionary Atonement that aligns closely with my understanding of many years: The Love Story of Penal Substitutionary Atonement
        I highly recommend it to you and all our readers who may have questions about the substitutionary aspect of the Atonement.

  6. The lesson misses an interesting sidelight by stopping at Gen. 31:13. If we read a bit further, we come across this:

    “Is there still any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house? Are we not considered strangers by him? For he has sold us, and also completely consumed our money. (Gen. 31:14,15)

    What do you suppose the women mean by what they say about their father? What about their "portion or inheritance" in their father's house? What did they mean by "he has sold us, and also consumed our money"?

    [Hint: I believe it has something to do with the purpose of the dowry Jacob paid by serving Laban.]

    • I also noticed that. If they had been given to another man instead, Laban would not have gotten 14 years of service from that man, even excluding the blessings he received simply because of Jacob's presence. Apparently Laban also did not provide the dowry for his daughters, since they said he had consumed all their money. So the financial blessing that was meant for them went to him instead. It seems Laban was more concerned about financial matters than his daughters' well-being.


Please leave a comment long enough to say something significant and considerably shorter than the original post. First and last name required.

Your email address will not be published.

Please leave a comment long enough to say something significant and preferably significantly shorter than the post on which you are commenting.

HTML tags allowed in your comment: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>