Fear and Jacob

(Gen 31:31) Jacob answered Laban, “I was afraid. I thought you would take your daughters away from me by brute force.”

Jacob had submitted to working for his father-in-law (Laban), for many years. Meanwhile, Laban cheated him repeatedly; changing his wages 10 times (31:7). Jacob kept believing God, and he sensed it was time for a change. When he told Laban that he wanted to leave Laban obviously did not want the blessing to leave his house (and business). Jacob had made Laban very rich . Laban offered Jacob money to stay, but Jacob had a better idea; a faith-based idea that would change his financial situation drastically. Jacob was visited by the angel of the Lord and he had a dream about spotted and speckled animals (31:10-13). After this dream Jacob told Laban, “I don’t want you to pay me anything. Just do one thing, and I’ll take care of your sheep and goats. Let me go through your flocks and herds and take the sheep and goats that are either spotted or speckled and the black lambs. That’s all you need to give me.” This accomplished a couple of things:(1) it put Jacob’s money in lambs and (2) the colour of the lambs meant they could be easily identified and separated. Laban accepted quickly because there were few lambs that fit thisstrange category (spotted, speckled, and black). Laban thought that Jacob had made a business error, but unbeknownst to him, Jacob had a Word from God.

His money now in lambs, Jacob devised a plan. He cut branches from poplar, almond, and evergreen trees. He then peeled off part of the bark and made the branches look spotted and speckled. Then he put the branches where the animals would see them while they were drinking from the water trough. Why? Because they mated in that area. Jacob believed that if the sheep and goats were looking at the spotted and speckled branches while they mated, that their offspring would come out spotted and speckled . That’s faith! Also, since he already had spotted and specked animals, he put those animals in front of the other animals that were mating – for the same reason. Furthermore, he was wise enough not to do this for all animals, but only for the strong ones. When the weak ones were mating, he never showed them the spotted and speckled branches or animals. It workedAfter time Jacob had all the strong and healthy animals and Laban got what was left. So Jacob become rich, he acquired huge flocks, and lots of servants (see Genesis 30:32-43).

Genesis 31 opens with Jacob overhearing Laban’s sons complaining, “Jacob is now a rich man, and he got everything he owns from our father .” Jacob also noticed that Laban’s attitude toward him had changed. It was at this point that God told Jacob to go back to the land of his fathers. So he was armed with riches, a great family, and a Word from God to go back home, but even with all of this,he allowed fear to creep in. He did not have the courage to face Laban and tell him that he was leaving. Our text says that Jacob was afraid that Laban would not let Jacob leave with his wives. This fear caused Jacob to take off like a thief in the night. Once Laban found out that Jacob was gone he took off after Jacob with his men. They chased Jacob and his household for seven days. Laban was prepared to do Jacob physical harm, but God spoke to Laban the night before he caught up to Jacob and told Laban not to touch Jacob.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that fear is relentless. Even with a situation like this, where God had clearly blessed Jacob and provided him a clear Word of direction, Jacob was still struck by fear and made a decision that almost cost him his life. It doesn’t matter who you are and how blessed you may be, you must always keep fear in check if you are going to live by faith and please God. Don’t let fear open the door to failure and defeat in your life!

Confession for this day : Lord God, I thank You for blessing me with the wisdom and revelation to be successful at everything that I do and I declare, by faith, that I overcome the fear that would cause me to make decisions that would open the door to failure.

In Jesus’ name.

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