Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Prospering against all odds

Jacob laying the peeled rods before Laban's flock - Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - 1617-1682
Jacob laying the peeled rods before Laban's flock - Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - 1617-1682

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Genesis 30:22-43

TO CHEW ON: "Thus the man became exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks, female and male servants, and camels and donkeys." Genesis 30:43

The trickery between Laban and Jacob continued. When Jacob wanted to leave, Laban pressured him to stay, not for Jacob's benefit but for his own. He recognized that God's blessing on Jacob was seeping into his life as well.

Yet he seemed forever suspicious that what Jacob was actually doing was stealing from him. So Jacob suggested a foolproof way to determine his wages. His pay would be the less desirable sheep and goats of the flock—the speckled and spotted sheep and goats, and the brown lambs.

Laban agreed to this, after which he immediately removed all such animals from his current flocks, giving them to his sons. Then he separated his flocks (tended by Jacob) and the flocks of his sons by a three-day-journey distance.

Our reading describes Jacob's way of provoking "flawed" animals. My Bible's commentary says about Jacob's system of peeled rods:
"Jacob was not practicing superstition, he was exercising faith which he somehow associated with the rods. God, having designed the laws of genetics, intervened and honored Jacob's faith" R. Russell Bixler, commentary on Genesis, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 46.

Whether Jacob was at heart superstitious or faith-filled, only he and God know. But it worked—not, I would submit, because of anything Jacob did but because God wanted it so and had planned it so. Jacob's survival and prospering was one of the pieces needed to complete the picture of our redemption through Jesus. Mr.Bixler again:
"God's blessings are always able to exceed man's defrauding" - Ibid.

How encouraging this story can be to us. Even when events, circumstances, and people are arrayed against us, nothing can or will stop God's purposes as He determines (with our cooperation of course) to enact them through us.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to look to You and not circumstances, people or my own wits for success in the assignments You give me. Amen.

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Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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