Credit Where Credit's Due
Heavenly Father, fill me with Your wisdom this day. Be the focus of my thoughts, the inspiration of my deeds.
Read Genesis 31:1-21
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.
“The will of God … deals with our motives as well as our actions; it focuses more on the little decisions we make every day than about the big decisions we make for the future” (Jerry Sittser).
At this point in Jacob’s story, animosity between his family and Laban’s has developed, owing to differing perceptions of how Jacob has acquired his prosperity. The second half of chapter 30 explains in more detail how Jacob and Laban agreed on who should own which animals, and how Jacob, having journeyed three days’ distance from Laban, bred the strongest, varicolored flocks for himself. Jacob describes this to his wives as something God has brought about because of Laban’s mistreatment of him. His brothers-in-law, however, seem to imply that it was theft. Alongside this is a direct command from God to return home. His wives, who think that their father’s actions have alienated them, are in agreement and, in effect, trust themselves to Jacob’s God.
It seems that, having made Laban more prosperous, Jacob’s intentions were to make himself and his family wealthy at Laban’s expense. In that he was successful. There’s no mention of God in the initial spotted and speckled mating process until it’s apparent that relationships have broken down. Then Jacob ascribes his success to God rather than his own cleverness. He also tells Leah and Rachel of the reminder God gave him of his actions at Bethel–perhaps to justify their departure; but whatever the reason, they are happy to go.
When things go well, things that we’ve committed to God, whether of a mundane, day-to-day nature or of more significance, it is okay to be appropriately proud of what God accomplishes through us. What’s not right is to do things to suit ourselves, or to benefit ourselves and, then, to use God to justify our choice of actions or our behavior. Which path Jacob was actually pursuing here, we don’t know.
Are there some things of which you are appropriately proud that God has accomplished through you? Thank him. Pray to avoid using God to justify any inappropriate behavior.
Loving Father, thank You for accomplishing good things through me. May I be proud of Your working, and only Your working.