Jan 19

Part 63: If God Had Not Been on Our Side…

Todd Pruitt |Series: Genesis |Genesis 31:17-55

This account of Jacob’s story offers more confirmation of the great lessons we have already drawn from these chapters describing Jacob’s sojourn in Paddan Aram. Chiefly, what is revealed is the Lord’s faithfulness to keep his gracious promises. Specifically, we see the Lord keep the promises he made to Jacob at Bethel. In addition to giving him children (the progenitors of Israel’s 12 tribes and the forerunners of the Messiah), material prosperity, and security in the Land of Promise, God also pursued Jacob’s heart. By God’s grace, the Jacob who returns to Canaan is a more mature, more faithful man than the one we met fleeing in fear of Esau.

Through great trials (at least some of which were disciplinary) the Lord went about making Jacob a man of faith. Jacob knew that it was God who had protected him from Laban’s evil intentions. It was God who had prospered him despite all of Laban’s efforts to enrich himself at Jacob’s expense. And, now, finally, it was God who had intervened to prevent Laban either from doing him harm or from seizing him and his family and property and forcing them to return to Paddan Aram. Laban and all of his deceitful intentions were no match for God’s sovereign will. And so Jacob’s confession: “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…” (vs. 42). How remarkable that after all he had endured over the last 20 years, Jacob concluded that the Lord had been on his side.

The passage concludes with a covenant between Jacob and Laban. They promise the cessation of all hostilities between them. Of course, for the Christian, the language of covenant is freighted with significance. It is by way of God’s gracious covenant – first indicated in Genesis 3:15 and finally ratified with Abraham – that God saves sinners by grace through faith in Christ. In this everlasting Covenant of Grace the eternal God, by way of Jesus’ death and resurrection, made we who were his enemies, his sons and daughters.

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