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September 13, 2020 | Doug Sauder
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“Three days later, Laban was told that Jacob had fled. So he gathered a group of his relatives and set out in hot pursuit.”—Genesis 31:22-23 (NLT)
Yesterday, we examined how the Lord came to Jacob and told him to leave his uncle Laban, who had been taking advantage of him for several years, and to return to his homeland. This wasn’t a simple relocation. At this point, Jacob had two wives, several children, many servants, and livestock. It was an entire caravan!
Laban wasn’t happy about this because he knew enough to know that God had been prospering Jacob, and he had been enjoying the residual blessings of that prosperity. Laban wasn’t willing to let his nephew go without a fight, so he gathered all of his relatives and went after them. Undoubtedly, Laban set out with the expectation of coercing Jacob and company to return, forcibly if necessary. But something happened on the way: “God had appeared to Laban the Aramean in a dream and told him, ‘I’m warning you—leave Jacob alone’” (Genesis 31:24 NLT)!
If we’re being honest, yesterday’s devotion was a bit unsettling because it revealed a challenging truth: Sometimes God wants us to endure the Laban’s of life. It’s not easy to patiently put up with someone who is taking advantage of us . . . and God knows that. But notice as the story goes on here, we see the Lord honoring Jacob’s endurance by supernaturally warning Laban against any further mistreatment, which is what eventually causes him to let go of Jacob and all he had.
Here’s what we need to extract from this account: When God calls us to an act of obedience that’s challenging, He doesn’t leave us high and dry to deal with the outcome. No, He sees us through things. He will even defend and protect us in ways we could never defend or protect ourselves. As we obey, He acts on our behalf as needed.
God doesn’t give us all of the pieces to the puzzle. We can’t always see what’s happening on the other side of the equation. Usually, we can only see the side of our obedience. But we know the Lord sees everything, and we can trust that He is actively working on behalf of those who love and seek to obey Him, especially when it comes to the Laban’s of life!
DIG: What principle regarding God’s activity do we see here?
DISCOVER: When has the Lord dealt with a Laban in your life?
DO: Consider how this account challenges/strengthens your faith towards God.