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Bible 101 lesson 5B

Jim Parker

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Bible 101 Lesson 5B

Read Gen 31:4-13

Jacob explained the situation to Rachael and Leah. He explained that their father, Laban, had changed their agreement ten times but God had continued to bless Jacob.

Jacob related his vision of the Angel of the Lord to them in which God gave the flocks and herds to Jacob.

Gen 31:14 -18
Then Rachel and Leah answered and said to him, “Is there still any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house? Are we not considered strangers by him? For he has sold us, and also completely consumed our money. For all these riches which God has taken from our father are really ours and our children’s; now then, whatever God has said to you, do it.”


Then Jacob rose and set his sons and his wives on camels. And he carried away all his livestock and all his possessions which he had gained, his acquired livestock which he had gained in Padan Aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.

Rachael and Leah also saw that their father is not being honest with them. He had consumed any inheritance they would have received from him. They agreed that God has given Jacob their father’s wealth that was really theirs and their children’s.

What they were saying was that their father, Laban, cheated Jacob and he cheated them. But the wealth that God has given Jacob is also theirs and their children’s. So they all headed back to Canaan.

Gen 31:19
Now Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel had stolen the household idols that were her father’s.

Apparently, Rachel felt justified in stealing her father’s idols which were very likely made of gold and/or silver.

Two problems:
(1) She stole them and
(2) now she’s carrying pagan idols with her, which is an abomination to the Lord.

Gen 31:22-23
And Laban was told on the third day that Jacob had fled. Then he took his brethren with him and pursued him for seven days’ journey, and he overtook him in the mountains of Gilead. But God had come to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said to him, “Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad.”


By taking his brethren with him and pursuing Jacob for seven days, we understand that Laban was intending to do violence to Jacob. You don’t need a posse just to say “Good by and good luck!” What Laban appears to have intended to do is to take by force his daughters and Jacobs’s flocks back with him. But, he was warned by God in a dream to be careful what he says to Jacob.

Laban and his posse caught up with Jacob and his wives and children and his flocks and herds.


Gen 31:26-30
And Laban said to Jacob: “What have you done, that you have stolen away unknown to me, and carried away my daughters like captives taken with the sword? Why did you flee away secretly, and steal away from me, and not tell me; for I might have sent you away with joy and songs, with timbrel and harp? And you did not allow me to kiss my sons and my daughters. Now you have done foolishly in so doing. It is in my power to do you harm, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad.’


And now you have surely gone because you greatly long for your father’s house, but why did you steal my gods?”

Jacob’s act of sneaking away is a breach of decorum. That is the complaint that Laban brings because it is the truth. Under normal circumstances, they would have had a few days of feasting before Laban sent Jacob on his way with his blessing. Laban doesn’t mention that it is highly unlikely that he had any blessing for Jacob. Still, what Jacob did was contrary to the customs of the day and Jacob was properly rebuked for his action.

Then Laban asked why Jacob stole his gods. But Jacob knew nothing about what Rachel did.

So, Laban was very careful to do what God had said in the dream because, even thought he was an idolater, he feared the God of Jacob. He did not try to take his daughters and their children and all of Jacob’s flocks by force. But he did want his household gods back which was a reasonable demand.

Gen 31:31-32 Then Jacob answered and said to Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I said, ‘Perhaps you would take your daughters from me by force.’ With whomever you find your gods, do not let him live. In the presence of our brethren, identify what I have of yours and take it with you.” For Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.

Jacob’s answer is truthful. He feared that Laban would take his daughters back by force (not to mention his children, his flocks, and herds and camels). The fact that Laban brought all his kinsmen with him “just to say good by” bears witness to the fact that Laban would not have hesitated to use force had God not warned him.

Jacob also gives a righteous response concerning the stolen gods. He allows Laban to search through everyone’s belongings and all the baggage of their group. If the gods are found in the possession of anyone in his group, he decrees that person be put to death. He is unaware that he has put Rachel, his favorite, whom he loves more than Leah, in danger of death.

Gen 31:33-35
And Laban went into Jacob’s tent, into Leah’s tent, and into the two maids’ tents, but he did not find them. Then he went out of Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s tent. Now Rachel had taken the household idols, put them in the camel’s saddle, and sat on them. And Laban searched all about the tent but did not find them. And she said to her father, “Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise before you, for the manner of women is with me.” And he searched but did not find the household idols.


Rachel acts quickly to save her life. She put the gods (idols) in the camel saddle in her tent and sat on it. Then when her father came to search she asked to be allowed to remain seated because she was having her period. Ii that culture, her condition would make her “unclean” and the camel saddle on which she sat would also be considered unclean. So Laban, in order not to be defiled by touching the “unclean” camel saddle, didn’t look there and Rachel escaped being put to death as a thief.

So she is a thief and a liar. WHAT A FAMILY!! (The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.)

Gen 31:36-55
Jacob gave Laban a chewing out for the ill treatment he received from Laban.

Laban responded that Leah and Rachel are his and all their children are his and all Jacob’s flocks are his and all that he sees is his but he’s afraid to go against the God of Jacob. In saying this, Laban confirmed that it was his intention to do exactly what Jacob feared: to take everything that Jacob had earned and gained including his wives and children and to leave him with nothing.

So they made a covenant not to be in conflict with each other. Then they made a heap of stones as a witness (tradition); they made a sacrifice; (to confirm the covenant) and they ate bread. (A sign of friendship.)

The Jacob headed off back to his father’s house and Laban back to his house and the practice of sending back to the family in Padan-Aran for wives comes to an end.
 

Not_Now.Soon

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What a mess. But God stayed true to His promises earlier. He stayed with Jacob through his travels and through his life. But at least now in the story, it's hard to tell why God chose Jacob.

Jim I know this is outside of the lesson plan, but do you have any idea why God chose Jacob instead of Easu. Or in a more general sence, why God reveals Himself to some of us but not to others? Jacob heard God and then went on with God's promise to him, and his own conditions to the promise. But did Easu do something worse then Jacob, that God would choose to reveal Hinself to one and reject the other?
 

Jim Parker

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What a mess. But God stayed true to His promises earlier. He stayed with Jacob through his travels and through his life. But at least now in the story, it's hard to tell why God chose Jacob.

Jim I know this is outside of the lesson plan, but do you have any idea why God chose Jacob instead of Easu. Or in a more general sence, why God reveals Himself to some of us but not to others? Jacob heard God and then went on with God's promise to him, and his own conditions to the promise. But did Easu do something worse then Jacob, that God would choose to reveal Hinself to one and reject the other?
What Esau did in selling his birthright was to choose a bowl of stew over his birthright to be the son to God's promises to Abraham and Isaac would pass.
Esau also had no problem with taking pagan wives who would lead him and their children away from God.

Jacob, though morally no better than Esau, wanted the promises of God to Abraham and Isaac as his own. He wanted them badly enough to risk making Esau so angry that he would want to kill Jacob. (So he had to run and hide for 20 years).

Esau was very materialist. He valued the material things of the earth.
Jacob valued the blessings of God above the material things of the earth.

That's my takeaway.

jim
 

Not_Now.Soon

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What Esau did in selling his birthright was to choose a bowl of stew over his birthright to be the son to God's promises to Abraham and Isaac would pass.
Esau also had no problem with taking pagan wives who would lead him and their children away from God.

Jacob, though morally no better than Esau, wanted the promises of God to Abraham and Isaac as his own. He wanted them badly enough to risk making Esau so angry that he would want to kill Jacob. (So he had to run and hide for 20 years).

Esau was very materialist. He valued the material things of the earth.
Jacob valued the blessings of God above the material things of the earth.

That's my takeaway.

jim
That makes sense. However I still wonder. Several atheists I've talked to say they've looked for God and studied different religions, but they could not find Him. I wonder about them or about any of us that have found God. That said, thank you for your answer regarding Easu. It's food for thought.
 

Jim Parker

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Several atheists I've talked to say they've looked for God and studied different religions, but they could not find Him.
Looking for God or looking for support for their atheism?
If you really want to find God, He'll say "Howdy."
 

Truthfrees

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1. i find for myself that it takes a lot of seeking of the Lord - iow if i give the Lord a few minutes and then have to run off because i have better things to do i don't really "find the Lord" / hear the Lord on the issues i need His help on - so my heart has to be serious about "finding the Lord" / hearing the Lord on an issue

Jeremiah 29:13-14 New King James Version (NKJV)
13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord,


2. the other issue i find for myself is if i don't really believe the Lord will answer me then i don't tenaciously seek Him on a matter - i have to KNOW in my heart that He will for sure reward me for doggidly seeking Him

Hebrews 11:6 New King James Version (NKJV)
6 for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
 

Tessa

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1. i find for myself that it takes a lot of seeking of the Lord - iow if i give the Lord a few minutes and then have to run off because i have better things to do i don't really "find the Lord" / hear the Lord on the issues i need His help on - so my heart has to be serious about "finding the Lord" / hearing the Lord on an issue

Jeremiah 29:13-14 New King James Version (NKJV)
13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord,


2. the other issue i find for myself is if i don't really believe the Lord will answer me then i don't tenaciously seek Him on a matter - i have to KNOW in my heart that He will for sure reward me for doggidly seeking Him

Hebrews 11:6 New King James Version (NKJV)
6 for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Truthfrees I love this post.
 

Razeontherock

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I agree, the Truth within post #7 is VERY foundational to my own Faith, and my experience of meeting God as well as growing in Him.

A related truth to this phenomena as well as the section of Scripture we're studying is that we see God revealing Himself in a new way to characters in Genesis, who then build an altar and name it according to that new revelation. They want to make this new relationship with God permanent! Of course a pile of rocks can't really do that, but hey they tried?

What winds up happening is that for generations, anybody passing by is reminded of the experience with God. We see a bit of this still coming through with the story of Jesus and the woman at the well.

I find what makes things permanent, is the Holy Spirit! We have a new and better covenant, based on better promises ...
 

Truthfrees

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I agree, the Truth within post #7 is VERY foundational to my own Faith, and my experience of meeting God as well as growing in Him.

A related truth to this phenomena as well as the section of Scripture we're studying is that we see God revealing Himself in a new way to characters in Genesis, who then build an altar and name it according to that new revelation. They want to make this new relationship with God permanent! Of course a pile of rocks can't really do that, but hey they tried?

What winds up happening is that for generations, anybody passing by is reminded of the experience with God. We see a bit of this still coming through with the story of Jesus and the woman at the well.

I find what makes things permanent, is the Holy Spirit! We have a new and better covenant, based on better promises ...
well said
 

jasonc

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Ssg esau,spc esau I have not thought of them in a while.

Two Jewish men I served with.
 

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