Shepherd God, keep me alert and receptive to Your wise and surprising ways. To You be all the glory, forever!
Read Genesis 31:43–55
43 Laban answered Jacob, “The women are my daughters, the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks. All you see is mine. Yet what can I do today about these daughters of mine, or about the children they have borne? 44 Come now, let’s make a covenant, you and I, and let it serve as a witness between us.”
45 So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar. 46 He said to his relatives, “Gather some stones.” So they took stones and piled them in a heap, and they ate there by the heap. 47 Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha, and Jacob called it Galeed.[a]
48 Laban said, “This heap is a witness between you and me today.” That is why it was called Galeed. 49 It was also called Mizpah,[b] because he said, “May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other. 50 If you mistreat my daughters or if you take any wives besides my daughters, even though no one is with us, remember that God is a witness between you and me.”
51 Laban also said to Jacob, “Here is this heap, and here is this pillar I have set up between you and me. 52 This heap is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not go past this heap to your side to harm you and that you will not go past this heap and pillar to my side to harm me. 53 May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.”
So Jacob took an oath in the name of the Fear of his father Isaac. 54 He offered a sacrifice there in the hill country and invited his relatives to a meal. After they had eaten, they spent the night there.
55 Early the next morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then he left and returned home.[c]
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectCan you think of monuments celebrating or attempting to keep peace?
After their angry dispute, Laban suggests forming a covenant or binding agreement between himself and Jacob (52,53). Was the formality of the covenant, set up in front of human witnesses and God, an indication that they still did not really trust each other?
As Jacob set up the stone pillar, I wonder if he remembered doing something similar on his way in the opposite direction around 20 years earlier, as God made a covenant with him (28:18). God has certainly kept His promise – the empty-handed fugitive is now a rich man with a large family.
Laban and Jacob both make an oath in the name of God. Laban calls Him the God of Abraham, the God of Nahor (Abraham’s brother and Laban’s grandfather) and the God of their father (Terah); Jacob makes his oath in the name of ‘the Fear of his father Isaac’ (53). Abraham, Nahor and Terah are all dead, but Isaac is still alive. Jacob is stating that he worships the God of the living, not the dead.
The symbol of the stone pillar was important in helping people remember their agreement. How do you remember important things that God has said to you, or significant things that He has done?
Mighty God, I need to learn such lessons from Jacob’s mistakes: trusting You to intervene rather than fleeing in fear. Open communication is better than scheming. Help me Lord.