Jacob Leaves Laban (Genesis 31:7)

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After Laban’s double-dealing with Jacob in forcing him to marry both of his daughters and work for 14 years for the right to do even that, it’s fair to say that there is a bit of a mistrust between Laban and Jacob.

Are they friendly? Sure. As a matter of fact, Genesis 31:2 clearly states that the two were “formerly friendly.” By the time Jacob is ready to leave, though, that attitude has changed significantly.

Some of this mistrust could be due to the inheritance laws that existed at the time of Jacob. If a man only had daughters, then a “near relative” could be married to one of the daughters and make him the de facto heir. If sons came along later, he would still be considered the firstborn, which would also make him eligible for the double inheritance and make him the head of the family.

The Bible isn’t clear if Laban had any sons, but we do know that he has at least a few by the time Genesis 31 comes around. They claim that Jacob has made himself rich off of Laban’s back.

Jacob has a different story. He claims to his two wives that Laban is the one that has cheated him “these ten times” (Genesis 31:7). He’s innocent, despite how it looks with all the speckled flock running around. 

Surprisingly (or not surprisingly) Leah and Rachel agree with Jacob. They claim their father has “sold” them to Jacob, and that God has stripped Laban’s wealth and given it to them and their children (Genesis 31:14). They’re all ready to leave — Jacob, Leah, Rachel, Bildad, Zilpah, the kids, all of them. There’s nothing left to stay for.

But it’s not mere anger that propels them to leave Laban’s house. In Genesis 31:10-13, Jacob relays a vision he received from God to leave Laban immediately. The voice identifies Itself as the “God of Bethel” — the same God who Jacob wrestled with when he used a rock for a pillow.

Truthfully, it doesn’t matter why Jacob and his family left. God told him to leave, so he needed to leave. It’s as simple as that. 

It’s funny how God’s timing works out. By no means am I saying that we should “trust our gut” when it comes to following God’s command. That path is laden with hedonism and, ultimately, disobedience.

But looking back on moments in our life where we’ve made the deliberate change to follow God despite the difficulties, we always recognize, in hindsight, that it was the right move.

It’s time to stop delaying what we’re supposed to be. If you’re not a child of God, become one today.