(1) Walk Thru The Word for Today: Genesis 31: 38-42 (ESV)
(Jacob Has Served Laban for Twenty (20) Years)
38These twenty years I have been with you. Your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried, and I have not eaten the rams of your flocks. 39What was torn by wild beasts I did not bring to you. I bore the loss of it myself. From my hand you required it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night. 40There I was: by day the heat consumed me, and the cold by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes. 41These twenty years I have been in your house. I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times. 42If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God saw my affliction and the labor of my hands and rebuked you last night
(2) Walk Thru The Word for Today: Genesis 31: 43-50 (ESV)
(Laban Is Unhealthily Possessive of His Daughters)
43Then Laban answered and said to Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day for these my daughters or for their children whom they have borne? 44Come now, let us make a covenant, you and I. And let it be a witness between you and me.” 45So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar. 46And Jacob said to his kinsmen, “Gather stones.” And they took stones and made a heap, and they ate there by the heap. 47Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha,d but Jacob called it Galeed. 48Laban said, “This heap is a witness between you and me today.” Therefore he named it Galeed, 49and Mizpah, for he said, “The LORD watch between you and me, when we are out of one another’s sight. 50If you oppress my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no one is with us, see, God is witness between you and me.”
(3) Walk Thru The Word for Today:
Genesis 31: 51-55 (ESV)
(Jacob & Laban Set a Pillar of Witness for God to Referee)
51Then Laban said to Jacob, “See this heap and the pillar, which I have set between you and me. 52This heap is a witness, and the pillar is a witness, that I will not pass over this heap to you, and you will not pass over this heap and this pillar to me, to do harm. 53The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” So Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac, 54and Jacob offered a sacrifice in the hill country and called his kinsmen to eat bread. They ate bread and spent the night in the hill country.
(4) Message map:
Genesis 31: 38-55 “Jesus Protects Jacob As He Leaves Laban”
- Laban Is lost in the lust for stuff & won’t let go of what Jacob Has Earned
- God warns Laban & will watch between him & Jacob
- Jacob, “the selfish grasper” has undergone a 20 year transformation to Be Jacob, “the Selfless Go-Getter”
- Like Jacob, God Disciplines & Transitions The Disciples He Calls
Message Introduction: As believers, God sometimes must extricate us from unhealthy associations. Today we’ll see how God works in a believer’s life to do that.
Today we continue going through the The Book of Genesis, and will see how “Jesus Protects Jacob as He Answers the Call to Leave Laban!” Perhaps some of us have some bad, long term associations, business arrangements and habits God is calling us to leave, and today we’ll see how God worked that out in Laban’s life, and how He can work it out in ours too!
Genesis is the book of the beginnings of everything!
Over the past several weeks we’ve seen God work through Abraham, Issac and Jacob to begin the nation of Israel. Halley’s Bible Handbook says…
The Old Testament is an account of a Nation.
The New Testament is an account of a Man (Christ Jesus)
The Nation was founded and nurtured of God to bring the Man (Christ Jesus) into the world.
God birthed the nation through His imperfect patriarchs, like Jacob. In Genesis we see God work with His imperfect patriarchs to conform their character into the image of Christ. These illustrations are provided as examples of how God also works in our lives to conform us into the image of Christ and bring us together as a diverse body of believers, established to fulfill His purposes, for His glory.
Let’s pray and open our hearts for Christ to work His will in us, during this service.
(5) (Gen 31: 43a) Laban won’t let go of what is Jacob’s – Laban tries to hold on to what Jacob Has earned
43Then Laban answered and said to Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine.
Laban is like a 3-4 year old, who says everything is mine. Laban Is lost in the lust for stuff and claims …
- the daughters, who now are Jacob’s wives.
- the children, who now are Jacob’s
- the flocks that now are Jacob’s flocks.
- all that Jacob worked for by contractual
Laban suffers from a me-centered, selfish outlook, which probably is part of his natural disposition and is fueled by his idolatry and witchcraft. (Gal 5:20 & Prov 18:1)
Galatians 5:20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions …
Proverbs 18:1 “An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.” One would think that when God came to Laban in Gen 31: 24 and warned him in a dream not to speak to Jacob either good or bad, that Laban would do some self-analysis and introspection and ask himself, why am I like I am?
The Bible also says these things about the dangers of being selfish.
James 3:16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. …
James 3:14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. …
James 3:14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. …
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. … Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. …
Philippians 1:17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. …
Galatians 5:20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions…
Proverbs 18:1 An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels. …
Romans 2:8 But for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.
James 4:1What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this that your passions are at war within you?
(6) (Gen 31: 26, 50 & 52) Laban Judges Jacob by Laban’s values
26And Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done, that you have tricked me and driven away my daughters like captives of the sword?… 50If you oppress my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no one is with us, see, God is witness between you and me.” … 52This heap is a witness, and the pillar is a witness, that I will not pass over this heap to you, and you will not pass over this heap and this pillar to me, to do harm
Laban accuses Jacob of …
- driving away his daughters as captives of the sword. The truth is Leah and Rachel go willingly with their husbands, stating they know Laban has mistreated him and them, because as females they have no inheritance, and only what Jacob has is what they and their children will have. Laban actually has pursued Jacob by sword
- wanting to oppress his daughters, as he did Jacob by putting his corrupt sons in charge of Jacob’s flocks and herds, and changing his wages 10 times.
- wanting additional wives, when Laban was the one who tricked Jacob into polygamy in the first place – when Jacob worked 7 years for Rachel and on the wedding night Laban swapped in Leah.
- wanting to harm Laban, when in fact, it’s Laban throughout the past 20 years has at every turn sought to harm Jacob. In Genesis 31:29, Laban says “It is in my power to do you harm, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful not to speak either good or bad to Jacob.’
Romans 2: 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?
(7) Laban Needs to learn to let go of what is Jacob’s (Gen Gen 31: 24 & 29)
24But God came to Laban the Aramean/Syrian in a dream by night and said to him, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.” Genesis 31:29 “It is in my power to do you harm, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful not to speak either good or bad to Jacob.’
In Gen 30: 27 But Laban said … “I have learned by divination that the LORD has blessed me because of you, [Jacob].”
Now God reveals Himself to Laban in a dream . This particular revelation by God is to prove Himself to Laban the Pagan, and convince him not to interfere with God’s plan for Jacob. In this instance the Holy Spirit highlights that he’s an, Aramean/Syrian. So this dream is not pleasant, but is an ominous warning.
(8) God’s name, character & nature includes He Is The fear of Issac (Gen 31: 42 & 53)
42If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God saw my affliction and the labor of my hands and rebuked you last night.”
51Laban said… 53The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” So Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac,
The “fear of Isaac”, appears twice in Scripture, and names the God Who covenanted with Abraham and His descendants, Isaac, Whom God oversaw as a Fearful One Whose Will Must Be Obeyed!
Benson says God is The Fear of Isaac, who sanctified the Lord in his heart ). Barnes says the term refers to “The God Who Isaac Fears.” Thus God is the object of Isaac’s fear or sacred awe.
Antagonism and deception defined the relationship between Jacob and Laban until their confrontation in Genesis 31. However, with Laban put in his place and a covenant initiated, Jacob and his father-in-law now stand as equals. The very fact that Laban proposes a covenant at all in verse 44) indicates he now regards his son-in-law as a peer worthy of respect. No longer may he push Jacob around; now Laban must treat him as one of equal status.
As in every covenant ceremony, vows are sworn, but there is a marked difference between the oath of Laban and the oath of Jacob. Laban swears in the name of many gods, placing Yahweh alongside the gods of Nahor and others. He shows this to be the case by using a plural verb to describe these deities whereas Jacob consciously swears by only one God — “the Fear of his father Isaac” (v. 53). This name for the Lord is found in this chapter alone (see also v. 42) and is notable for two reasons. First, Laban is trying to shelter himself from Jacob’s Lord because he is afraid of the Almighty. Therefore, Jacob wisely uses the title “Fear of his father Isaac” to keep Laban in his place. More importantly, fear for God, in the form of reverent awe, is the attitude Scripture prescribes for us in life and worship (Deut. 10:12–13; 1 Peter 2:17). Jacob has learned more of this fear in Paddan-aram through the Lord’s use of Laban to discipline him.
(9) God = The Fear of Isaac (Gen 31: 42 & 53)
The “Fear of Isaac” communicates …
- God is awesome to support and secure His role and participation in Abrahamic covenant
- God is a Holy Terror Who can cause panic in His enemies!
- In Judges 8, Gideon defeats the 2 Midian kings, Zebah and Zalmunna
- Joshua 5:1 1As soon as all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan for the people of Israel until they had crossed over, their hearts melted and there was no longer any spirit in them because of the people of Israel.
- 1Sam 7:10 As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to attack Israel. But the LORD thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were defeated before Israel.
- 1Sam 14: 15 – 20 God uses Jonathan, Saul’s son, to create a panic within the Philistine army. 20Then Saul and all the people who were with him rallied and went into the battle. And behold, every Philistine’s sword was against his fellow, and there was very great confusion.
- In 2Chron. 14 Judah’s King Asa defeats a million man Ethiopian army and 2Chron. 14:14 says “And they attacked all the cities around Gerar, for the fear of the LORD was upon them. They plundered all the cities, for there was much plunder in them.”
- God’s friends, the people called by His name had better have great respect for Him.
- Proverbs 28:14 Blessed is the one who fears the LORD always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity. (ESV)
- Joshua 1:13-15 13When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshipedc and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” 15And the commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
- 2 Corinthians 5:11 Since then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. … As people who know what it means to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. …
- God should be an object of dread to both friend and foe alike.
- In Joshua 9:24 the Gibeonites feared God and 24…answered Joshua, “Because it was told to your servants for a certainty that the LORD your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you—so we feared greatly for our lives because of you and did this th 2 Corinthians 5:11 Since then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. … As people who know what it means to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. …
Revelation 15:4 Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to …Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. …Who will not fear you, Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. …
Job 28:28 And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord … He has commanded mankind: ‘To fear the Lord—that is wisdom; to move away from evil—that is understanding.’“…
Psalm 19:9 The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The …The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The decrees … The commands to fear the LORD are right and endure forever. The judgments …
2 Chronicles 19:7 Now let the fear of the LORD be on you. Judge … … Fear the LORD and judge with integrity, for the LORD our God does not tolerate perverted justice, partiality, or the taking of bribes.” …
Proverbs 15:33 Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the LORD, and humility comes before honor. … Fear of the LORD teaches wisdom; humility precedes honor. …
Proverbs 24:21 Fear the LORD and the king, my son, and do not join with rebellious officials……
Proverbs 16:6 Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for through the fear of the LORD evil is avoided. … By the fear of the LORD, evil is avoided. …
Proverbs 2:5 Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God.
Proverbs 1:29 since they hated knowledge and did not choose to …since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD. … For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the LORD. …
Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and …Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. … The beginning of wisdom is to fear the LORD, and acknowledging the Holy One is understanding. …
Proverbs 15:16 Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil. Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it.
Proverbs 14:27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death. …
Proverbs 8:13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and …To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. … All who fear the LORD will hate evil. …
(10) God’s Name, Character & Nature (Gen 31: 42 & 53)
42If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God saw my affliction and the labor of my hands and rebuked you last night.” By calling God, “The Fear of Isaac, Jacob perhaps plays on words to communicate that God is…
In this verse we learn God is …
- the God of Abraham, meaning He oversees His covenant with Abraham and his descendants.
- the “fear of Isaac”, which appears only 2 times in Scripture in Gen 31: 42 & 53.
- on Jacob’s side to support and secure His role and participation in Abrahamic covenant
- sees (is mindful of) man’s affliction and the labor of our hands. God expects us to be able to use the time, talent and treasure He gives us, so we can do some God-honoring work in this world to provide goods and services others are willing to pay us a profitable price to enjoy.
- He rebukes (renders judgement/verdict and warns) people.
- Rebuke also means that God properly, assigns value as is fitting the situation, and He provides a warning to prevent something from going wrong”
Isaac understood the power and supremacy of God in a way few people experience. He put a new meaning in the phrase ‘sacrificial living’. He understood that his very life came from God and was given back to him by God. He understood God’s provision and prospered under God’s blessings. I believe he loved and worshiped God… and he feared God.
When Jacob told Laban who was protecting him, it was the God of Abraham, but the Fear of Isaac. Why Isaac? I believe it is because in the story of Abraham offering to sacrifice Isaac, which is a foreshadow of God the father offering His son Jesus, Abraham is a type of the Father and Isaac is a type of the Son. The Fear of Isaac is linked to Isaac, the son.
In my opinion, the Fear of Isaac is the pre-incarnate Jesus. The Fear of Isaac was the champion of Jacob. Jacob did not fear Him. Jesus is our champion, also. Praise His name always!
Abraham was a friend of God. They talked with each other.
Isaac was the child of the promise God made to Abraham, and as such Isaac lived with a special understanding in “The Fear of The Lord.”
Isaac was the first circumcised as an infant,
Isaac at age 33 or so, willingly was strapped down as a sacrifice to God by his father, poised over him with a knife, like the spear that pierced Christ’s side. Abraham believing that if God ordered this for Isaac, then He would resurrect Him to fulfill the covenant to build a great nation from Isaac and his descendants. Hey 11: 17-18 17By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.
Isaac married Rebekah, had Jacob and Esau, blessed Jacob and then died. Genesis 21-35
Isaac was in the field meditating/praying when he first laid eyes on Rebekah as his servant returned from his journey seeking the bride.
The Lord appeared several times to Isaac.
Like his father, Abraham, Isaac immediately obeyed when the Lord spoke to him. And like his father, Isaac also was deceitful out of fear, calling Rebekah his sister instead of his wife.
And As God protected and restored Sarah to Abraham He faithfully restored Rebekah to Issac as his wife.
Fearing God is not something we are comfortable talking about. We like the love, blessings, and provision of God but we struggle with the fact that he gives us our very breath. We are alive because he chooses to let us live – not because we deserve to live or are in control of our own lives. Whether or not we fear God is at the root of all of our questions of ‘why’ when a child dies or a young mother succumbs to cancer or a 20-year-old brilliant student with a heart for mission drowns. It kind of boils down to the trust factor. Have I learned to let go of trying to control my own life and destiny and to trust God no matter what happens? There is such a peace and relief in the times when I actually get there – trusting the Fear of Isaac.
Isaac’s relationship with Abraham and with God from this day forward was perhaps one of awe of how his father obeyed and was willing to obey God.
Jacob’s oath may give us a hint. Isaac saw his father respond in obedience to God to the point of willingness to give up his son whom he loved very much. Isaac also saw God provide the ram as the sacrifice that freed him from being the sacrifice.
(11) (Gen 31: 38 – 41) the nature of Jacob’s transformative work in Jacob
38These twenty years I have been with you. Your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried, and I have not eaten the rams of your flocks. 39What was torn by wild beasts I did not bring to you. I bore the loss of it myself. From my hand you required it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night. 40There I was: by day the heat consumed me, and the cold by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes. 41These twenty years I have been in your house. I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times. In this verse we learn God is …
Jacob, “the selfish grasper , has been transformed into Jacob, the Selfless Go-Getter. Evidence of this is he …
- 38 did not eat the rams of Laban’s flocks.
- 39 bore the loss of what was torn by wild beasts.
- 39 submitted to Laban requiring from his hand any loss, whether stolen by day or stolen by night.
- 40 selflessly served 40 consumed by the heat of the day and the cold of night, and through sleeplessness.
- 41 went through 10 wage changes including working for one wife and being pad another!
(12) (Yellow) Jacob Submitted To God’s Discipline for 20 Yrs. (Gen 31: 41)
Jacob explains 41These twenty years I have been in your house. I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times.
God used Laban to discipline Jacob for twenty 20 years because Laban …
- was willing to accept reaping what he sowed at home, and accepted being deceived into working 7 years for Leah
- was willing to work a total of 14 years for Rachael
- agreed to work another 6 years to build a flock to support his family
- tolerated his wages being changed 10 times, including working for Rachael, and being paid Leah, which was the first big wage change!
(13) (Gen 31: 38 – 55) God influenced Laban to make peace with His now transformed servant Jacob (Pr 16:7).
Prov 16: 7 When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Matthew Henry asks this question regarding Gen 31:36-42.
If Jacob were willingly consumed with heat in the day, and frost by night, to become the son-in-law of Laban, what should we refuse to endure, to become the sons of God?”
Psalm 119:36 Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. … Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!
This verse means that in our trials we should not focus on how to get our way, but on what is God trying to improve about our Christian character which provides us with a testimony about how God brought us through it.
(14) Let’s Pray that God Make Us Faithful Followers, who trust Him as He extricates us from every unhealthy situation! Let’s Ask God to Make Us Mindful of Him during our trials, so we are aware of His presence and mindful that He is at work in them. Click To Tweet
Let’s Ask God to Make Us Mindful of Him during our trials, so we are aware of His presence and mindful that He is at work in them. And let’s respond As Faithful Followers Who Trust God To work in us and in those for whom we pray. Let’s hang in there and allow God to develop within us the faithful long-suffering that allows God to work to Turn Our Trials Into Testimonies!