Monday, July 12, 2010


What steps do you take before making a big decision? Do you pray or read your Bible, hoping for a personal revelation? Do you ask for opinions from friends and family members? Or do you stand around wondering until the opportunity passes you by? Ugh. I've done that a time or two. When my husband and I have been in those “seeking” stages of life, we've noticed a pattern. God begins to make us a little uncomfortable, sort of like a mama eagle removing the soft downy feathers from the nest of twigs. She takes out more and more of the soft stuff, leaving only the sticks poking the young eaglets by the time they're ready to fly. Well, our nest generally gets pretty sticky before we are willing to fly. I don't know eagle-speak, but I wonder if mama eagle asks daddy eagle these questions before she gives the eaglets the boot. “So will our next nest be bigger or smaller? Will the schools be adequate? How about the neighborhood – is it safe for the kids? Can we afford to move? The resale value on this nest will never give us enough for a down-payment on the next.” Oh, those eagles. Always thinking ahead. But sometimes eagles just have to look at the few facts they have and let it fly! They've outgrown their current nest. There's simply not enough food for them all where they are now. And the Wind is calling them to go NOW…

Gen. 31:1-3 – “Jacob heard that Laban's sons were saying, 'Jacob has taken everything our father owned and has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.' And Jacob noticed that Laban's attitude toward him was not what it had been. Then the LORD said to Jacob, 'Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.'”
  • Jacob felt no puffy, soft feather from any of Laban's sons and Laban himself got in a poke or two from the nest. Even God gave Jacob a gentle nudge. Wouldn't you think that would be enough? Well, jealous brothers-in-law, a grouchy father-in-law and a direct word from God wasn't enough to convince Jacob.
Gen. 31:4-9 – “So Jacob sent word to Rachel and Leah to come out to the fields where his flocks were. He said to them, 'I see that your father's attitude toward me is not what it was before, but the God of my father has been with me. You know that I've worked for your father with all my strength, yet your father has cheated me by changing my wages ten times. However, God has not allowed him to harm me. If he said, “The speckled ones will be your wages,” then all the flocks gave birth to speckled young; and if he said, “The streaked ones will be your wages,” then all the flocks bore streaked young. So God has taken away your father's livestock and has given them to me.'”
  • We learn more of Laban's deceit as Jacob convinces his wives of what God has said he must do. Ooops, back up the train! If Jacob is trying to convince his wives to leave, that means he already KNOWS the direction he is to go and wants their approval. Asking for confirmation is different than asking for approval. Seeking confirmation means you're seeking godly input to know and do God's will. Seeking approval means you're seeking to escape the responsibility of a hard choice.
Gen. 31:10-13 – [Jacob continued,] “In breeding season I once had a dream in which I looked up and saw that the male goats mating with the flock were streaked, speckled or spotted. The angel of God said to me in the dream, 'Jacob.' I answered, 'Here I am.' And he said, 'Look up and see that all the male goats mating with the flock are streaked, speckled or spotted, for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and go back to your native land.'” (emphasis added)
  • God had told Jacob some time ago, in a past breeding season (June-September), that he was supposed to leave Laban's household “at once.” But Jacob didn't leave – for months and possibly for years. We know from Gen. 31:19 that Jacob flees Laban's household during shearing season – spring – but since Jacob says “In breeding season I ONCE had a dream,” I get the impression it happened before last season. When God says “at once,” how long does it take you to respond?
Gen. 31:14-16 – “Then Rachel and Leah replied, 'Do we still have any share in the inheritance of our father's estate? Does he not regard us as foreigners? Not only has he sold us, but he has used up what was paid for us. Surely all the wealth that God took away from our father belongs to us and our children. So do whatever God has told you.'” (emphasis added)
  • Jacob's wives finally agree on one thing. They've been treated badly by their father – and that's their singular motivation for agreeing to Jacob's plan. When we seek counsel to help us make a godly decision, make sure it's godly counsel without selfish motivation.
Gen. 31:17-21 – “Then Jacob put his children and his wives on camels, and he drove all his livestock ahead of him, along with all the goods he had accumulated in Paddan Aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan. When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father's household gods. Moreover, Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him he was running away. So he fled with all he had, and crossing the River, he headed for the hill country of Gilead.” (emphasis added)
  • When Jacob received all the confirmation necessary to finally act on God's direction, He messed up his obedience with petty sin. The thread of deception was still woven deeply into Jacob's character.
Lord, I don't want to get it right just to get it wrong. It's so easy to let my guard down at the last moment and lose the high ground we've worked together to achieve. Help me to finish well, Father. To make the hard decisions, endure difficult conversations, choose the right thing – and be totally obedient and pleasing in not only my actions, but also my methods.

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