Keywords: faithfulness, promises, protection, vows
31:12-13. And he said, “Look up and see that all the male goats mating with the flock are streaked, speckled or spotted, for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and go back to your native land.”
God knew that Laban was cheating Jacob so He provided for him. He also reminded him of his vow: “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s house, then the Lord will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth” (28:20-22).
When I read this vow, I thought that Jacob was testing God, that he really didn’t respond the way he should. God didn’t take it that way. He heard a vow and kept his side of it. He made sure Jacob was taken care of and that he was safe. Now He was providing opportunity for him to return to his father’s house, just as he said in his vow.
I’m staggered at this faithfulness of God. Why should I be so awed? It is God, after all, but considering Jacob’s character at this point, I would have thought God’s response to his vow would have been more conditional. It was not, even though Jacob made it conditional for himself-if You take care of me, I will worship You.
In God’s mind, the only way Jacob could keep his vow was if God kept His side. He knew the man’s intentions but also his weaknesses. How would Jacob ever worship Him had God allowed Laban to cheat him out of his wives and wages? Instead, God protected Jacob in a most unusual way by making sure the animals reproduced and produced offspring that Jacob could claim.
Lord, this is a most awesome story and revelation of You. When someone makes a vow to serve You if You do whatever for them, You know their heart and their limitations. No one could keep their promise unless You kept Your part of it.
The other thing is that You knew Laban’s heart too. You knew the man was trying to exploit Jacob and no matter what Jacob did, it would not matter to this man. You protected Jacob and rescued him from Laban’s schemes.
I’ve seen You protect me too. I remember only ever making one vow. I was a child who had lost a kitten and prayed saying I would serve You if I found it. I did find the kitten but You knew that I could not serve You unless You did much more for me. Years later, You opened my eyes to the reality of Jesus Christ and changed my heart-so I could keep my vow. You are an awesome God.
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