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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Growth comes from God (Genesis 30)

The wives of Jacob longed for his attention and each wanted to bear children to him. Yet along with the desire there was an awareness that only God could give children to them. Both of them were willing to use the cultural practice of using their servants to provide children. Of course, the reader of Genesis will recall what happened when Sarah also used the practice. Soon God had given several children to them.

The birth of Joseph to Rachel seemed to mark a change in Jacob’s outlook and he informed Laban that he wanted to go home. Since Rachel was his preferred wife he may have regarded her firstborn son as his real heir and wanted to take him and the others back to the land God had given to him. Often the birth of a child brings a person to realise their priorities, but with Jacob it may have taken the births of several for him to do so.

During those years with Laban God had blessed the work of Jacob to such an extent that Laban noticed the difference that Jacob made. Therefore he wanted Jacob to continue working for him, without giving him any wages despite agreeing to do so. Jacob was still learning that only God could provide for him as far as material prosperity was concerned. At the same time it was clear that the Lord was keeping his promises to him.

We can even see God's overruling control in the way Jacob was guided in a dream to increase his flocks as they mated, as indicated in the next chapter. No-one would have done this before, yet Jacob was learning to trust God when he gave such guidance. He is an example of how obedience to God's directions, even when no-one else is doing them, will result in divinely-given growth. Jacob was growing inwardly and in his possessions, evidences that God was keeping his promises to bless him.

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