Jacob & Laban | Genesis 30:25-31:55

Week 7 | Study Guide & Sermon

SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION 

Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you. (Genesis 31:3)

If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God saw my affliction and the labor of my hands and rebuked you last night. (Genesis 31:42)

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:13-14)

OPENING THOUGHT 

Jacob’s life is one massive proof that the patriarchs of the Old Testament were just as dependent upon God’s grace as followers of Christ today. Left to his own devices, Jacob is far from being the epitome of a faithful servant of God. Thus far, at his mother’s prompting, he has deceived his father in order to steal his brother’s blessing. When his brother became murderous, he fled to his mother’s homeland. Jacob met his future wife there, but soon found himself deceived by his father-in-law into marrying both Rachel and her sister, Leah. His polygamous marriage quickly created a destructive family situation where Jacob was thrown back and forth between his two wives and their maid-servants.

But even in the midst of these conditions, God continues to bless Jacob. The family drama of Jacob’s multiple wives may have been both sinful and avoidable, but God used it to give Jacob eleven sons and a daughter through whom the covenantal blessing could continue. That God-given grace continues in our present text as Jacob parts ways with his father-in-law, Laban.

The relationship of Jacob and Laban was far from ideal, but these events only cause that divide to separate further. Laban attempts to rob Jacob out of his wages, and Jacob flees from Laban without allowing him a moment for saying goodbye to his daughters or grandchildren. Though we see both men act sinfully, it quickly becomes clear how much the LORD is growing Jacob. While Laban’s blatant idolatry is seen throughout the text, Jacob only continues to become emboldened because of his reliance upon God. From this text we can see that God’s followers will certainly encounter many hardships in life, but the LORD will faithfully see them through each one.

Read verses 25-43 and discuss the following. 

  • Laban relied upon divination to learn that his prosperity came because of God’s favor toward Jacob. Divination is any practice of attempting to gain special knowledge through supernatural means. Why is divination a sin? What are examples of divination today?

Read verses 1-21 and discuss the following. 

  • In appearing to Jacob, God claims responsibility for blessing Jacob’s flocks while he was shepherding for Laban. Since being blessed means to be favored by God, are all Christians blessed? Why?

Read verses 22-55 and discuss the following.

  • When Laban catches Jacob, he is furious that his son-in-law would leave without allowing him to say goodbye to his daughters and grandchildren. However, we soon realize that Laban is even more upset about his household gods being missing. What are a few examples of modern household gods?
  • Jacob and Laban share a meal together and make a covenant to do no harm to each other. Why were meals important to forming a covenant? How does this relate to the Lord’s Supper?

ACTIONS TO CONSIDER 

  • Obey. Laban was angry at Jacob for leaving with his daughters and grandchildren, but he was even more furious about his gods being stolen. Like Laban, the idols of our life tends to be what would make us most upset if they were missing. Use this thought to consider what things might be idols in your life.
  • Pray. Even during this conflict with his father-in-law, Jacob was still blessed and provided for by God. Take a few moments each day this week to give thanks to God for His blessings and provision.
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