GOD HATH TAKEN AWAY
Genesis 31:1 ¶ And he heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father’s; and of that which was our father’s hath he gotten all this glory. 2 And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before. 3 And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee. 4 And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, 5 And said unto them, I see your father’s countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me. 6 And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. 7 And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me. 8 If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked. 9 Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me. 10 And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled. 11 And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I. 12 And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred. 14 And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house? 15 Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money. 16 For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children’s: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do.
Genesis 31:17 ¶ Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels; 18 And he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padanaram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan.
The Lord God is THE sovereign Lord! Psalm 103:19 The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all. Daniel 4:34b I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: 35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? Ecclesiastes 3:14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.
Therefore he does what he wills with all in his creation. Matthew 20:15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
And this is how he brought the woman into being at the beginning of creation. He had made the man using the dust of the earth. But with the woman he took from the man and ‘builded’ the womb-man. Genesis 2:21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
All this is to teach us that we have our being from outside our selves, from the Eternal One, God the Son! John 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 14:19 … because I live, ye shall live also. Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
For the Person of the Son is the originator and sustainer of all life! Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
And in our lesson we see that which the Lord God originally gives to Laban, he does so in order to transfer it to his servant Jacob. Psalm 75:6 For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. 7 But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another. And we now shall see the effect it has upon the characters in our lesson.
First of all in verse one, we see that the fruit, or offspring of the worldly man, Laban, cannot accept this. The worldly minded have no faith to evidence the invisible, spiritual things of the Lord. For one of the many works of the flesh is envy! Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Since they cannot perceive the spiritual workings of the Lord, they falsely relate to his bestowed blessings with envy, malice and jealousy. And these are the things which provoke hatred and retaliation. We see this in the minds and hearts of Joseph’s brothers. Genesis 37:3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. 4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. 20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.
The Apostle Paul addressed this in his first letter to the Thessalonians. For as soon as they became believers in Christ, they became persecuted. 1 Thessalonians 2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: 15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:
The Lord Jesus preached concerning those like Laban’s sons, who have physical eyes, but cannot see spiritual things. Matthew 13:13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
And there are two great matters of God’s marvelous and miraculous workings that are just seen as natural by the physical eye, which if seen spiritual, would reveal the Lord’s sovereignty. The first is the Birth of Children.
Remember Jacob’s first personal encounter with the Lord? In that revelation of the Lord to himself there are the twice mentioned words, “thy seed.” Genesis 28:14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. For the line of Messiah that began with Abraham comes on down through Jacob. And in Genesis 32:10 he confesses to the Lord that he only came with a staff in his hands as his only possession. But that he was then going back home with “two bands.” And we read in Ruth 4:11 that with Leah and Rachel, these two did build the house of Israel.
Genesis 46:3 And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: Exodus 1:5 And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already. 7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them. 12:37 ¶ And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. 38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle. Seventy of Jacobs family went into Egypt. Six hundred fifty thousand came out! And that was just men on foot!
And that physical birth, entirely controlled by God, speaks of the spiritual birth of the entire body of believers, being so many that no man can number them! Revelation 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
The second great thing which the Lord brought forth was the Birth of the Cattle. Genesis 30:43 And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses. 31:41 Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle:
The Lord God had revealed to Jacob in a dream which of the cattle and sheep to choose for his wages of six years. And then the Lord caused the animals to birth exactly as he had instructed Jacob. Absolute sovereignty was exacted over the birthing of the cattle, for the Lord had witnessed how crooked Laban was in his dealing with Jacob.
Genesis 31:7 And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me. 8 If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked. 9 Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me. 10 And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon (mated) the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled. 11 And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I. 12 And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap (mated) upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee.
The Lord was truly ‘putting down’ Laban, and ‘setting up’ Jacob! Even Laban’s two daughters, (who were Jacob’s two wives), had their hearts turned away from their father and towards their husband in this matter! Genesis 31:14 And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house? 15 Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money. 16 For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children’s: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do.
And as far as the Lords choice of the animals, remember that he calls his elect people, whom he has chosen, the sheep of his pasture! Psalm 100:3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
He has chosen them as spotted with sin, as weak and base among the human race. 1 Corinthians 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
And as has already been stated, he shall multiply them to a number that cannot be calculated by man! Psalm 105:24 And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies.
And just as the Lord made the Egyptians pay the wages they owed the Lord’s people for their slave labor, as they parted from Egypt, so the Lord caused Laban to give forth what he rightly owed Jacob before his departure. James 5:4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.