Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him he was running away. So he fled with all he had, crossed the Euphrates River, and headed for the hill country of Gilead. (Genesis 31:20-21)
To say that Jacob deceived Laban might not be the best of ways to describe what happened. It is more accurate to say that Jacob kept his intentions to himself and did not reveal to Laban what he was about to do. He had fulfilled his commitments and he had heard from God that it was time to go — there was nothing good going to come from staying longer. So he fled “with all he had,” meaning his family and possessions. Three days later, Laban hears of this and decides to pursue Jacob to overtake him and bring them back.
What is interesting about this is that centuries later, his descendants would replay this scenario when they came forth from Egypt. When the time came for them to go, God brought them out with great signs and wonders. But like Laban, Pharaoh pursued God’s people in an effort to either retrieve them or destroy them. As we know, it did not end well for Pharaoh and his army. On the other hand, it was a day of great deliverance for Israel.
There is an old rabbinic adage that says, “What happens to the fathers is a portent for the children.” It means that these things of long ago are patterns for the future where God’s people are concerned. Accordingly, the Bible describes a future time when God’s people will once again flee from the Adversary who will then pursue them. Revelation 12 says that Satan will pursue the woman (Israel) who had fled into the wilderness. Though he attempts to overtake her and destroy her, the Bible says that God will protect her and cause her to overcome.
There are times when we must act and break away from situations that, were we to remain in them too long, would be our undoing. Situations and relationships that may have served a purpose in the past aren’t always conducive to God’s purposes for our future. Though the mother’s womb serves a great purpose, there is a time that the child must come forth. If the child remains too long, the womb could become its tomb. When we do make a break from those unhealthy relationships and situations, no doubt, the Adversary will try to pursue us to drag us back in but, thanks be to God, He will give us the victory if we place our trust in Him and continue to pursue Him.
Blessings and Shalom,