Tuesday, July 26, 2011

God's blessings > man's defraudings

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Genesis 30:22-43

TO CHEW ON: "And Laban said to him, 'Please stay, if I have found favour in your eyes, for I have learned by experience that the Lord has blessed me for your sake.'" Genesis 30:27

In today's episode between Jacob and his father-in-law Laban, Jacob attempted to get his family's independence by suggesting it was time for them to go back home. But Laban would have none of it.

"Please stay," he begged. "God is blessing me because of you. Name your wages and I'll pay them."

Jacob devised wages that separated the flock by markings. He would take all the spotted, streaked and mottled animals.
"Jacob offered to take the least desirable of the animals, but those so easily identified that there could be no accusation of stealing" - Footnote - New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 45.

Laban agreed to this but, cagey man that he was "...removed that day the male goats that were speckled and spotted, all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had some white in it and all the brown ones among the lambs, and gave them into the hand of his sons" - Genesis 30:35.

In other words, Laban stacked the deck against Jacob, starting him off with an unspotted (and pure black?) flock.

So Jacob devised a way of influencing conception using peeled rods. "Jacob was not practicing superstition," explains my Bible's footnote. "He was exercising faith which he somehow associated with the rods. God, having designed the laws of genetics intervened and honoured Jacob's faith - Genesis 31:9" - NSFLB, P. 46.

And God did honour Jacob's faith. For the final verse of our reading says, "Thus the man became exceedingly prosperous and had large flocks, female and male servants, and camels and donkeys" - Genesis 30:43. I love what my Bible's footnote says about this: "God's blessings are always able to exceed man's defrauding."

God's blessings are still available for us today. A quick overview of Scripture gives us some instances and promises of God's blessing.

  • When confronted by a large enemy army, Jehoshaphat encouraged the army: "Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall prosper." Then he positioned worshipers to go in front of the warriors and God went to work on their behalf. Read the story in 2 Chronicles 20:20-24.
  • When faced with opposition to rebuilding the Jerusalem wall, Nehemiah, confident in God's direction and leading said, "The God of heaven Himself will prosper us" - Nehemiah 2:20. Of course we know that wall got built.
  • John pronounced the blessing of prosperity in all things on those whose souls prosper - 3 John 1:2.
  • David promises God's blessing when people support God's chosen people, the Jews - Psalm 122:6.
  • And the Bible abounds with promises of prosperity and blessing for those who live according to God's ways and instructions. A few examples: Deuteronomy 29:9; Joshua 1:7-8; Psalm 1:1-3.
So let's position ourselves under the spout of God's blessing, and then no matter what our situation looks like on the outside, take that encouraging thought with us: "God's blessings are always able to exceed man's defrauding."

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for Your promise of blessing. Help me to recognize barriers in my life that would obstruct the flow of Your prosperity and blessing. Amen.

MORE: Shepherd of Life - Steve Bell

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