‘Jacob Flees from Laban!’
Passage: Genesis 31
Visual Aids (powerpoint)
What do people escape or runaway from? [Dangerous situations – floods, volcanoes, burning buildings, people that might want to hurt you; Things they are afraid of – spiders; Things they are trapped in – criminals in prison or escapologists in chains; Things they do like – bad weather].
After all weddings and children, we see Jacob now has to escape from his father-in-law Laban, in the next part of the story.
Jacob wanted to return home, but Laban didn’t want Jacob to go. To encourage Jacob to stay, Laban now said that he would pay him for the work he was doing (remember that Jacob had just spent the last 14 years working for his wives).
At first Laban said that Jacob could have as payment, all the speckled and spotted goats and sheep that were born. But when Laban saw that all the goats born were speckled and spotted, he changed his mind and said Jacob could have all the goats and sheep born with streaks. Jacob was fed up with his chopping and changing!
It was then that the Lord appears to Jacob and says: “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.” (Genesis 31:3)
God said to Jacob, “It’s time for you to go home.” So that’s what Jacob did. But he didn’t tell Laban that he was going.
When Laban discovered that Jacob was gone (along with his daughters and grandchildren), he chased after him. But God appeared in a dream to Laban and told him not to harm Jacob. When Laban eventually caught up with Jacob they agreed that they would not harm one another, and Laban said goodbye to his family.
Laban wanted Jacob to stay, but God needed Jacob and his family to be back in Canaan so that the next part of His plan to keep His promises could take place. But Jacob wasn’t home yet. There was still an obstacle in the way – Esau – his brother, who wanted to kill him!