Green, Green Grass of Home
Good Lord God, I thank You for giving me all that is so good, lovely and beautiful in my life.
Read Genesis 31:1-21
 Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were saying, “Jacob has taken everything our father owned and has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.”  And Jacob noticed that Laban’s attitude toward him was not what it had been.  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.'”  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.”  Then Jacob put his children and his wives on camels,  and he drove all his livestock ahead of him, along with all the goods he had accumulated in Paddan Aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.  When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father’s household gods.  Moreover, Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him he was running away.  So he fled with all he had, crossed the Euphrates River, and headed for the hill country of Gilead. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow did God care for Jacob despite Laban's trickery?
Strife and contention are never far away from Jacob’s life. Laban’s sons are disgruntled with him (1); Laban himself has changed his mind about Jacob (2) who deceives his father-in-law by running away from him (20). This deceit is Jacob’s moral signature and it’s far from flattering. It seems that when he is hard-pressed, his instinct is to flee (21). But again, we cannot discount God’s involvement. God tells him twice to return home (3,13) and reminds him of the encounter at Bethel (13). This reference to Bethel is highly significant. It is where he experienced God personally, heard his voice, received a promise and to where he will return. God simply won’t let him go, despite his many flaws. God’s purposes are transformative for individuals and communities alike. He loves Jacob too much to abandon him to his circumstances, and so he confronts him with the need for faith. Has there been a “Bethel” in your life? Is there somewhere where you have experienced the presence of God in such a powerful way that you find yourself returning there either in mind or body time after time? God meets us in such places and continues working his good purposes in and through us.
Recall any “Bethels” in your life and thank God for meeting you there. What is God doing in your life now?
My Lord, thank You for meeting me in Your Word and in special places. I want to know You better.
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