Genesis 30:25—31:55: Rivalry and Its Results
Do you currently have a strained or fractured relationship with a family member, friend or colleague at work? Has the cancer of resentment or anger been eating away at you? In this passage we find Jacob and Laban in just such a situation. In the previous chapter, after marrying both Leah and Rachel, Jacob was obligated to serve their father for another seven years. Now he wants to return to his homeland with his family, but Laban persuades Jacob to stay on with a new contract. We will see how the rivalry between these two men escalates to the point of open conflict.
Warming Up to God
Why are you coming to be with the Lord today? Tell him with honesty and frankness your thoughts and feelings. Extend them as gifts of obedience, and he will accept them as a fragrant offering.
Discovering the Word
- Why does Jacob want to leave, and why does Laban want him to stay (30:25-30)?
- Describe Jacob's way of getting back at Laban to increase the strength of his own flocks (30:37-43).
- What new factors in Jacob's situation now prompt his decision to leave Laban's employ and return home (31:1-13)?
- How has God protected and provided for Jacob in the midst of his unjust treatment by Laban (31:1-21)?
- How do Laban and Jacob reconcile their differences (31:43-55)?
Applying the Word
- Why is it often so difficult for us to see the other person's point of view in a controversy?
- What have we learned in this passage that can help us in dealing with a strained or fractured relationship?
Responding in Prayer
Decide now what steps you can take in a personal conflict you face, and pray for courage to follow through.