And He said, “Lift your eyes now and see, all the rams which leap on the flocks are streaked, speckled, and gray-spotted; for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow to Me. Now arise, get out of this land, and return to the land of your family.” (Genesis 31:12-13)
A Jewish commentator once wrote that, “God’s tests are always calibrated to correspond to the strength of the person being tested.” In this case, the person is Jacob and it would seem passed the test he had been given. At this point in the story, God visited Jacob in a dream to tell him the time had come to return to the land of his family. Life had been difficult for some time but he had remained steadfast in his commitment. But when he heard the command to return he began to act upon it immediately.
The first thing he did was to call his wives out into the field, privately, to explain to them what was about to happen. It is important to see that Jacob did not make this decision until consulting with his wives and presenting the facts of the matter to them. He explained the practical issues to his wives — how he had been falsely accused and mistreated and how Jacob’s own family would have nothing if it weren’t for the Almighty. They did not hear the command from God, He did. Yet he chose to be considerate of his wives in this matter considering that he was going to compel them to leave their only home.
There are several lessons in this scenario that we can glean from. First of all, we should consider that when it comes time for God’s people to move or change their circumstances, God makes it very uncomfortable for them. Those who in times past looked favorably upon them begin to disdain them. What worked for them before stops working for them. In other words, God’s people would stay put in one place if they felt comfortable; consequently, when it is time for His Will to be performed and adjustments in our life to be made, He makes life uncomfortable. When that happens to you, it might be that the Creator is preparing you for change in your world.
If he does speak to you in such a way, it is important to consider the others in your life who might be affected by your decisions. While Jacob didn’t necessarily ask their permission to leave Syria, he took the time to explain, in practical terms, why the time had come to change their situation. And it is here that Jacob’s integrity and commitment most likely made the difference. They had seen his faithfulness compared to their father’s lack of character and realized that they were being mistreated as well. In short, integrity and consideration for your fellow man make a big difference if you are going to ask others to follow you. So then let us walk in integrity and be kind to those we meet knowing that, in doing this, our Father is well pleased.
Blessings and Shalom,