Adult DCLM Search the Scripture 8 May 2022 | Lesson 19 || Jacob Sojourns in Laban’s House
Deeper Life Search the Scripture 8 May 2022
ADULT STS LESSON 19 | Jacob Sojourns in Laban’s House
MEMORY VERSE: ‘Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
TEXTS: Genesis 29-31
Adult DCLM Search The Scripture 8 May 2022 | Lesson 19 MESSAGE
Jacob’s encounter and experiences with Laban confirm the law of sowing and reaping clearly articulated in Galatians chapter six verse seven. Nothing can shield the unrighteous from reaping the wages of sin except there is genuine repentance. Jacob reaped the wages of his treacherous acts in the hands and house of another deceptive mortal. The place that his parents dreamed would shelter him from the wrath of Esau turned out to be a nest of many troubles.
There is only one refuge for a guilty sinner seeking peace; and that is at the cross where Jesus Christ died for the remission of sins. Jacob’s days in Laban’s house laid the foundation of his turbulent polygamous family life. As it were, Rebekah who thought the flight of Jacob would be for a few days did not live to witness his return and Isaac, who seemed to be nearer the grave, outlived her.
WAGES FOR DILIGENT SERVICE (Genesis 29:1-20; Ruth 2:4; Deuteronomy 6:11; John 4:36,37; Leviticus 19:13)
Jacob arrived Padanaram to meet shepherds (male and female) at a well where they led their flock to drink water. His enquiry and their reply revealed he was at the right place. That was where he met Laban’s daughter, Rachel who “came with her father’s sheep: for she kept them”. After lending a helping hand to water his uncle’s flock, he thereafter met him.
Laban received Jacob warmly into his house. Believers, male and female, need to appreciate the dignity of labour and get engaged in legitimate productive endeavour (Proverbs 14:23). It is important to exchange greetings and have mutual respect for one another (2 Corinthians 13:12). After a month of his sojourn, Laban hinted at the impropriety of Jacob serving him for free. Responding to his uncle’s enquiry on acceptable wages, he said, “I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter” (Genesis 29:18).
It is important that employees are paid wages that are commensurate with the labour or service rendered. Those who delay, cheat or rob them of their remunerations incur the wrath of God on their endeavour and household (1 Timothy 5: 18; James 5:1-6). When the planned short visit to Padanaram was extended, Jacob began to plan for his family life. His marriage to Laban’s daughters has many lessons for saints.
One, he sought the consent of the parents. Two, he fulfilled the eastern obligations of paying the bride price. Three, he had no premarital carnal knowledge of any of them before the parents formally gave them to him in marriage. Though Jacob lived in the same house with Laban and his daughters, he did not defile any of them.
It is unscriptural for so-called Christians to start living together as husband and wife before obtaining their parents’ consent and fulfilling all the rites of marriage. Marriage is honourable but the bed must be undefiled; for God will judge adulterers and adulteresses. Premarital carnal knowledge of partners yet to be joined together is sinful in God’s sight and must be reproved.
Adult DCLM Search The Scripture 8 May 2022 | Lesson 19
WAGES OF DECEITFUL SEED (Genesis 29:21-29; 1 Corinthians 5:8; Matthew 19:4-6; Malachi 2:14-16)
Jacob fulfilled all the requirements to be joined to Rachel in marriage. Laban however, outwitted Jacob by presenting Leah instead of Rachel to him on the night of the nuptials (Genesis 29:16-30). This is reminiscent of the way Jacob, with the help of his mother, deceitfully obtained the covenant blessings from Isaac. What a twist of fate! Just as he used the cover of Isaac’s partial loss of sight to deceive him, Laban also used the cover of darkness to deceive him.
Christians must be conscious of God’s law of sowing and reaping and determine to sow good seeds in order to reap good fruits (Galatians 6:7-9; Judges 1:6,7). When confronted by Jacob, Laban claimed to have acted in good faith and in accordance with their custom, a secret he did not reveal to Jacob until after the nuptials. Expectedly, Jacob was outraged and in a bid to pacify him, Laban mindlessly proposed to offer Rachel to him as a second wife for additional seven years of service. And Jacob agreed, served and also married Rachel.
Jacob’s type of marriage is against the uniform teaching of Scripture, which commands monogamy. Our Lord confirmed this truth. “And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? (Matthew 19:4,5).
The Scripture also frowns at separation and prohibits divorce (Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 19:6). This scriptural position is what every heaven-bound believer should uphold. Polygamy and all forms of unscriptural marriage are bedeviled with ruinous crises. Besides, deviation from divine blueprint on marriage will damn the souls of the rebels.
Polygamy plunged Jacob’s family into much strife and painful competition. There was incessant rivalry between the two sisters. “And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali” (Genesis 30:8).
Though polygamy was permitted in the Old Testament dispensation, this should not be taken as standard practice by any New Testament believer. Those who have married wrongly need to repent and make restitution if they hope to get to heaven.
WARNING AGAINST UNSCRIPTURAL MARRIAGES (Genesis 29:30-35; 30:1-43; Matthew 7:7-11; Jeremiah 3:23)
Jacob was not only a polygamist, his was a rare brand. He was married to two siblings. The Mosaic Law was to later forbid his brand of polygamy. “Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time” (Leviticus 18: 18).
Having been entangled in unscriptural marriage, he was not spared the troubles, rancour, rivalry, petty squabbles, frustration and tension characteristic of all polygamous marriages. He had all these in good measure. Leah was hated and envied. There was Rachel’s exasperating cry: “Give me children or else I die” (Genesis 30: 1) and his frustrating reply, “Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?” (Genesis 30:2).
Jacob could, at least, have prayed like Isaac did for Rebekah in a similar circumstance (Genesis 25:21). Merely complaining and despairing at our misfortunes or afflictions serves no purpose. Believers should learn to pray when there is problem. However, what Rachel could not get by impatience and trust in man, she later got through patience, prayer and confidence in God (Genesis 30:22-24).
In answer to her prayer of faith, she also conceived and gave birth to a special son, Joseph. All believers looking unto God for the fruit of the womb should learn to pray through like Rachel. God answers prayers (Matthew 7:7-11). Jacob was blessed with children. Leah gave birth to Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun and Dinah; her maid, Zilpah gave birth to Gad and Asher Rachel had Joseph and Benjamin and her maid, Bilhah gave birth to Dan and Naphtali. Adult DCLM Search The Scripture 8 May 2022 | Lesson 19
God desires that we also bear spiritual fruits. The Lord reveals that our fruitfulness is God’s will and brings glory to Him (John 15:1-8). The fruits Christians are expected to bear are of two types: the fruit of the Spirit and evangelism (Galatians 5:22,23; Matthew 28:19,20; Mark 16:15,16). It is unfortunate that many believers do not evangelise today because of economic difficulties lukewarmness, material pursuit, shyness, crowded church programmes and insecurity of life.
Some also claim that their inadequate education and insufficient knowledge of the Scriptures inhibit them from witnessing. No matter the blessings we seem to have, if we remain fruitless, we are not fulfilling the purpose of our existence of bringing glory to God. “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples” (John 15:8). This is the time to cry: “Give me spiritual children or I die” like John Knox prayed: “Give me Scotland or I die”.
Adult DCLM Search The Scripture 8 May 2022 | Lesson 19
After the birth of Joseph, Jacob requested to be sent forth with his wives and children. Laban objected on the acknowledgment that,”…I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake” (Genesis 30:27). He persuaded Jacob into tending his flock for six more years. To his request for a renegotiation of remuneration, Jacob said, “…if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock: I will pass through all thy flock to day, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire” (Genesis 30:31,32).
Jacob’s strange but extremely effective management of the flocks, to which he got Laban to agree, resulted in his becoming far wealthier than his uncle. “And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses” (Genesis 30:43). This is not surprising because of the testimony of the divine presence with him coupled with his diligence, faithfulness, negotiation skills and tact. These qualities are required of believers who seek to excel in their endeavours.
WISDOM IN PEACEFUL PARTING AMONG BRETHREN (Genesis 31:1-55; Romans 12: 18; Galatians 6:10) After twenty years with Laban, Jacob had to return home. It seemed that the growing hostility toward him there was becoming no less dangerous than what he might find back home with Esau.
“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. And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before” (Genesis 31:1,2).
Within this time, Laban changed his wages ten times (Genesis 31:39,41). Aside defaulting on his own side of the bargain, he ensured that Jacob paid for any animal torn by beast or stolen. In this ensuing crisis, God spoke to Jacob to return home. He discussed his travails and the divine instruction to depart with his wives and they agreed to go with him (Genesis 31:4-10,14-19). Adult DCLM Search The Scripture 8 May 2022 | Lesson 19
He left without notifying Laban and had gone three days before his uncle knew it. On receiving the news of Jacob’s departure, he pursued after him with other members of his family and overtook them east of Jordan in the land of Gilead. Prior to catching up with them, the Lord warned Laban in a dream: “Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad” (Genesis 31:24,29).
Employees should learn to give required notice of disengagement rather than abscond. Similarly, employers should do the needful when laying off their employees. Christian employees and employers should allow principles, peace and holiness to regulate their labour relations. Laban confronted Jacob for leaving without notice and stealing his gods. He spoke peacefully with Jacob, having been warned by God in a dream (Genesis 31:25-30).
Though Jacob chode with Laban on the issue of the stolen gods, he was unaware that they were with Rachel. God sees and knows the secrets of men and will open them up on the day of judgment (Romans 2:16). Jacob and Laban resolved their differences and entered into a non-aggression agreement. Stones of memorial were heaped up for a witness that neither party would cross over to harm the other.
God brought Jacob’s many years of oppression and exploitation to an end and generously rewarded his hard work and perseverance. This is a message Of hope for those who are being oppressed that they will be delivered and rewarded by God if they remain faithful diligent and steadfast.
Adult DCLM Search The Scripture 8 May 2022 Questions for review:
- Why is dignity of labour key to Christian living and child training?
2 List scriptural steps to seeking and securing a husband/ wife.
- What is the position of Scripture on polygamy, separation and divorce?
How did the law of sowing and reaping play out in Jacob’s life while he was with Laban?
5 How should believers handle delay in child bearing?
- What can believers learn from issues associated with Jacob’s departure from Padanaram?
7 Why should we follow peace with all men?