[Today: Genesis 31]. The Exceeding Increase of God’s Glory in Your Life. In this chapter we find the very first mention of the word “glory” connected with the increase and wealth that God had blessed Jacob with. Is God glorified in poverty? Does poverty provoke envy toward us among those who do not live for God? Laban and his sons are very envious and as a result Jacob decides to take his leave of Laban’s camp and return to his family.

[Gen 31:1-55 KJV] 1 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. 2 And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it [was] not toward him as before. 3 And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee. 4 And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, 5 And said unto them, I see your father’s countenance, that it [is] not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me. 6 And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. 7 And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me. 8 If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked. 9 Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given [them] to me. 10 And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle [were] ringstraked, speckled, and grisled. 11 And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, [saying], Jacob: And I said, Here [am] I. 12 And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle [are] ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. 13 I [am] the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, [and] where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred. 14 And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, [Is there] yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house? 15 Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money. 16 For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that [is] ours, and our children’s: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do. 17 Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels; 18 And he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padanaram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan. 19 And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that [were] her father’s. 20 And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled. 21 So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the river, and set his face [toward] the mount Gilead. 22 And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled. 23 And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days’ journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gilead. 24 And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad. 25 Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mount: and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mount of Gilead. 26 And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives [taken] with the sword? 27 Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp? 28 And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in [so] doing. 29 It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt: but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad. 30 And now, [though] thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father’s house, [yet] wherefore hast thou stolen my gods? 31 And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me. 32 With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what [is] thine with me, and take [it] to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them. 33 And Laban went into Jacob’s tent, and into Leah’s tent, and into the two maidservants’ tents; but he found [them] not. Then went he out of Leah’s tent, and entered into Rachel’s tent. 34 Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel’s furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found [them] not. 35 And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women [is] upon me. And he searched, but found not the images. 36 And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What [is] my trespass? what [is] my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me? 37 Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? set [it] here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt us both. 38 This twenty years [have] I [been] with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten. 39 That which was torn [of beasts] I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, [whether] stolen by day, or stolen by night. 40 [Thus] I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes. 41 Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times. 42 Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked [thee] yesternight. 43 And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, [These] daughters [are] my daughters, and [these] children [are] my children, and [these] cattle [are] my cattle, and all that thou seest [is] mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children which they have born? 44 Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee. 45 And Jacob took a stone, and set it up [for] a pillar. 46 And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap. 47 And Laban called it Jegarsahadutha: but Jacob called it Galeed. 48 And Laban said, This heap [is] a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed; 49 And Mizpah; for he said, The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another. 50 If thou shalt afflict my daughters, or if thou shalt take [other] wives beside my daughters, no man [is] with us; see, God [is] witness betwixt me and thee. 51 And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold [this] pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee; 52 This heap [be] witness, and [this] pillar [be] witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm. 53 The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac. 54 Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his brethren to eat bread: and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mount. 55 And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them: and Laban departed, and returned unto his place.

In the previous chapter, we see Jacob amassing great wealth in spite of Laban, making a strong effort to defraud him at every turn. Because God was with Jacob v. 43 of Gen. 30 testifies that he “increased exceedingly.” Because of this, Laban’s sons (Jacob’s cousins) complain publicly and in so doing, establish the first reference to the word “glory” in the scriptures (v. 1).

What is the significance in the Bible of the “first mention” of any particular subject? Theologians state the following:

“The law (or principle or rule) of first mention holds that the first mention of a subject or word in scripture becomes an interpretive guide to understanding that word or subject throughout the scripture.”

The subject of glory or the glory of God, exists throughout the Bible, and this first mention of the subject uses a Hebrew word “kabad” meaning “weighty” or “heaviness.” The blessing of God upon Jacob was a demonstration of God’s weightiness in Jacob’s life, and it provoked the people around him to envy and slander. What can you learn from this first mention of glory in the Bible? What is the significance of God’s glory for us personally? First of all, let us consider how central the glory of God was to the apostle Paul’s teachings:

[Col 1:26-29 KJV] 26 [Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

What is Paul saying here? He is making the point that the message of the glory of God in your life brought about by the indwelling Christ was a mystery that had been hidden for ages and generations. What is the mystery? That in the fullness of time, God would no longer live in a tent or a tabernacle but would live inside the hearts and human spirits of redeemed men and women. What are the consequences of this indwelling? The implication of this indwelling is that Christ in you would be a hope of glory? What glory are we talking about? We are talking about the same glory that provoked Laban’s sons to jealousy, where Jacob was concerned. Precisely what was that glory? Let’s read v. 43 of the previous chapter again:

Genesis 30:43 And the man (Jacob) increased exceedingly and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.

When considering the subject of God’s glory, you cannot separate the idea of the effulgence of God from exceeding increase in your life. God gets glory to Himself when He moves to bring to you as He brought to Jacob His exceeding increase. Was the increase because Jacob was so godly? No, the increase came because God was so good and so loving. This is the very core tenet of the gospel expressed in John 3:16, “God so loved that he gave…”

God doesn’t get glory from your poverty. Laban’s sons were not jealous of Jacob’s poverty they were jealous of Jacob’s exceeding increase and as generous as the increase of God in Jacob’s life by the hand of God was it was only a shadow of the increase – the exceeding increase that God wants to bring in your life. This is the message that Paul taught. You cannot separate glory from increase if you are going to approach the scriptures without deviation according to the time honor principles of biblical inquiry that the law of first mention establishes.

What do you do in your life as in Jacob’s when those around you are jealous of what the glory of God is producing in your life? God speaks to Jacob in v. 3 to leave the house of Laban’s contention and his cousins (Laban’s sons) and return to His kindred. Why? Because when Jacob returned to his tribe, even Esau rejoiced to see the blessing upon his life. Who is your tribe? Your tribe is made up of the people who are as blessing and joyful as you are that you are increasing with the exceeding increase of God. Who isn’t your tribe?

I don’t care if we are talking about your next of kin if the people around you are not rejoicing at God’s benevolence and exceeding blessing in your life they are not of your tribe and sooner or later you are going to have to withdraw yourself and find the tribe that God has chosen for you that will rise up and call you blessed and be willing in their thinking to see you blessed, increased and multiplied exceedingly just as Jacob was before Laban and his sons.

We see in v. 4 Jacob doesn’t leave his wives out of the decision. It is important to him that they be prepared to support him in the decision he is about to make. Something else we see here is that Jacob didn’t tell Rachel and Leah this in their home place. He brought them out to his flock, where prying ears could not hear the conversation. When the blessing of God and the favor of God put you over the top, you must prepare yourself to keep close counsel and to be a gatherer of information and not a dispenser of information. It is human nature to rejoice when blessings come but realize that not everyone around you is going to be happy or pleased about what God is doing to elevate you with His exceeding increase.

Jacob makes his departure without saying his goodbyes and in due course (v. 22), Laban finds out about it and is very unhappy. When people are moving in jealousy against you, they will not be willing to leave well enough alone. They will move against you and make every effort to complicate your life, as Laban is determined to do in this instance. What happens next? God appears to Laban in a dream and warns him not to molest Jacob or to speak anything, either good or bad against him. Does God care for Laban? No Laban is a pagan and an idol worshipper and is therefore outside even the grace that was available in patriarchal times. This will be true in your own life when God warns and stands in opposition against those who stand in opposition to you. God will fight your enemies – even those of your own household.

Laban overtakes Jacob and accusing him of kidnapping Rachel and Leah at the point of the sword and stealing his household idols. Unknown to Jacob, it was his very own Rachel who dishonored him by stealing these pagan images. That tells us that at lease on Rachel’s part, she was not monotheistic in her worship of Jehovah. She worshipped other gods as well and was willing to put the entire family at risk in order to continue doing so. What is an idol? An idol or idolatry is any outward dependency on other than who Jesus is in your life. When you are looking to something or someone for what you ought to be looking to the Lord for – that is idolatry.

Notice in v. 34-35 Rachel’s excuse for not revealing the stolen items. She pleads incapacity because of her womanly nature. When you hear people pleading deference to God’s will or word because of alleged infirmity, that is a sure sign of underlying infidelity and idolatry against God. To say “I’m just an old woman…” or “you don’t know what I’ve been through…” or “you don’t know what I’m dealing with…” you can be sure you are dealing with hidden idolatry in that person’s life. Now there is a question whatever happened to Laban’s idols in Rachel’s possession? The original word for idol here is “teraphim,” and it means “disgraceful things.” The idol was disgraceful, and possession of it drove Rachel to act disgracefully and to bring disgrace on all her family and Jacob himself. The idol you allow in your life will dominate your life, your future, and your destiny if it goes unexposed and who is willing to have this level of scrutiny? Most Christians approach the concept of forgiveness as though God overlooks without requiring exposure, repentance, and contrition. Are you willing to have your idols exposed?

Jacob goes on to defend his integrity and to compel Laban to build a pillar of remembrance, a form of an altar as a heap of witness establishing the line of demarcation between them. The implied commitment was that Jacob would not cross that line to harm Laban, and Laban would not cross that line to harm Jacob. There are many of us in our walk with God that need to deal with the blurred lines of fellowship with those who are not of our tribe or who do not honor or serve the God that we serve. To fail to establish a “this far and no further” line of demarcation between you and others who are resentful of God’s blessing in your life is to invite problems. The two men complete the ritual of separation with commensurate vows and Laban departs not only from the scene but never to surface again in the biblical narrative as an active part of the purposes God.

 

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1 Comment

  • Moira Shole says:

    Thank You Father for prophet Russ and Kitty, this teaching is so important in our lives, we appreciate them so much. Thank you for the teaching about tribes, they are very few but thanks God they are there.

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