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Thursday, January 26, 2023
Bible Meditation: 
Genesis 31: 1-18

Then the LORD SAID to JACOB, “RETURN to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you– Genesis 31:3

GOD revisited Jacob with the WORD of COMMAND to RETURN: “Then the LORD SAID to JACOB, “RETURN to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you” (Gen.31:3). The envy of Laban’s sons against Jacob poisoned his heart (vv.1-2). Envy breeds evil (1Cor.3:3; Jam.3:16). Envy will distort the truth! Jacob had not taken anything that belonged to Laban. Rather, his wealth was increasing in proportion to Laban’s. The problem wasn’t that Jacob stole; it was that Laban’s sons were filled with envy. But God prepared him for this time. First, God gave him the desire to return home (Gen.30:25). Then, his present circumstances became unbearable. Finally, the LORD gave personal direction to Jacob, and promised to reward him with His Presence: “and I will be with you” (v.3).


The Promise of God’s Presence meant everything. His Presence guaranteed peace and confidence always. Jacob explained the situation and his plan to his wives, testifying to his righteous conduct and devoted service to their father, and his unfair treatment in return (vv.4-9). Jacob perceived that God’s Hand had vindicated him: “So God has taken away the livestock of your father and given them to me” (v.9). God showed Jacob that He was greater and able to overcome what any man might do against him. God’s Presence was with Jacob, just as He had promised: Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you” (Gen.28:15).

God’s Presence with Jacob was evident in the direction he received in a dream (vv.10-13). Here, we learn that the blessing of rewarding livestock production described in Genesis 30: 37-43 was in some way revealed to Jacob in a dream. Jacob did not only use clever agricultural methods; more importantly, he had the blessing of God. In that dream, God had introduced Himself as the God of Bethel, and told Jacob to return to Bethel, back to the place where he first encountered the LORD in a personal way. This was Jacob’s way of returning to his first love and first works: “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its placeunless you repent (Rev.2: 4-5).

God keeps records! And it is good to remember times and places where the LORD did great works for us and has met us in wonderful ways. As we do, God reminds us He is still the same God who met our needs then and wants to meet them now. Commendably, Leah and Rachel supported Jacob in his desire to return to Canaan (vv.14-16). Laban’s two daughters noted that their father had already used any potential inheritance they may have once received; hence they were happy to leave their homeland with Jacob and return to Bethel and the land promised to their husband. Their stance: “Whatever God has said to you, do it” (v.16b). Their support in this costly and perhaps dangerous move was significant. It was a huge task to move such a large family. If not for his wives’ support, it may not have been easy to obey.  

Jacob had been disadvantaged by Laban on several counts: he tricked Jacob at the time of the marriage in order to marry out Leah first, and got 14 years of work from a willing Jacob. But God's “hidden Hand” was working out a great plan for this patriarch so that His promises could be fulfilled. Jacob was blessed with children in his tents and with increased livestock in his fields. In sum, God kept His word to Jacob. It was time to Return to Bethel! Beloved, what or where is God calling you to separate from? What or where is He directing you to return to?

Adetokunbo O. Ilesanmi (Meditations)

Lord, inspire us to obey Your WORD of COMMAND to RETURN to Bethel – to our First Love and First Works, and be rewarded, in Jesus’ name.
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