Dear Heavenly Father,
I praise you today for being a God of blessing and protection. Jacob acknowledged that you had given him everything he owned (Gen 31:9). You own the “cattle on a thousand hills” (Ps 50:10), and you graciously grant me the “power to get wealth” (Deut 8:18). I worship you for entrusting me not only with material blessings, but also with true, spiritual riches in Christ.
Today in Your Word
Today you told me about Jacob’s return to Canaan. The “few days” that Rebekah advised him to wait while Esau cooled down turned into 20 years! Those years humbled Jacob, and he proved himself to be honest and hard-working (Gen 31:6). Laban tried to cheat Jacob every chance he got, but Jacob did not respond in kind (Gen 31:39). Instead, he submitted to Laban and waited on you to settle the score (Gen 31:41–42). He didn’t even leave on his own accord. He stayed until you told him to leave (Gen 31:3). However, he ‘neglected’ to tell Laban that he was leaving, and Rachel, perhaps in payback for her wedding disaster, stole her father’s household idols. Laban pursued Jacob, but you protected Jacob from his wrath. They ended up making a covenant and parted ways in peace (Prov 16:7). Jacob’s thoughts then turned to Esau. Did he still bear a grudge? News of Esau’s approach “with 400 men” seemed to be answer enough. Jacob did not try to deal with Esau on his own. He took prudent action (Gen 32:7–8, 13–20), and he cried out to you for help (Gen 32:9–12). But instead of appearing to Esau as you had to Laban, you came and wrestled with Jacob! Jacob walked away with a limp, a new name, a blessing and a reconciled brother.
Laban deceived Jacob and took advantage of him many times over the years. How do I react when my employer treats me unfairly or when others take advantage of me?
Father, I take comfort in the fact that you see what others do to me (Gen 31:12). Help me to accept unjust treatment and wait patiently for you to show yourself faithful (1 Pet 2:19–20).
Thank you for being willing to wrestle with a heel-grasper like Jacob. I’m grateful that you meet me in my valley of fear, with discipline in one hand and blessing in the other.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Suggested Hymn: “Come, O thou Traveler unknown” by Charles Wesley.
Meditation Verse: Genesis 31:7.