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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.