There’s an old saying in Christian circles that we should work as if everything depends on us, and pray as if everything depends on God. When you read yesterday and today’s Scripture passages back to back, you get the sense that this is what Jacob is doing.
In Genesis 30:31-43, which we read yesterday, God is not even mentioned. Jacob is the one who does all the work and tricks Laban out of the strongest of his flock. But, in Genesis 31:1-16, Jacob gives all the credit for his amassing of Laban’s wealth to God.
Please read Genesis 31:1-16.
Once Jacob overhears that Laban and his sons are angry with him, Jacob again prepares to run away. We are reminded of his experience with Esau all over again. What’s interesting about this passage is how Jacob describes the events to his wives.
As the priest of his home, Jacob directs his wives to give all the glory to God. In the previous chapter, Jacob appeared to do all the work: Jacob negotiated with Laban and came up with his wages; Jacob used ancient superstitions to breed his flock; Jacob “increased greatly and had large flocks, female servants and male servants, and camels and donkeys” (30:43). Jacob could have taken all the credit for what he had done.
But he didn’t.
Jacob gives all the glory to God.
When telling the story to his wives, he tells them how God has been with him: God didn’t permit Laban to harm him; God caused the sheep and goats to be born speckled and spotted; God has given Laban’s livestock to Jacob. God deserves all the glory!
Rachel and Leah join Jacob in worshipping the Lord by acknowledging that God is the one who has done all this. Then, they follow Jacob in the only appropriate response to worship: obedience.
Jacob has revealed that God has not only blessed him; God has also called him to go back home. Rachel and Leah agree that, if God has called them, they must go.
When we worship the Lord, it cannot just be with pleasant words, songs, or attendance at a church service. These are great, but true worship is always accompanied by obedience.
We cannot worship God while living in disobedience. We must work hard with all of our might to do what He has called us to do. We must strive with all of our effort to bring His Kingdom on this earth. We must work as if everything depends on us, and pray as if everything depends on God.
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