God Goes Before
Sometimes—even now, after all these years of living in the West—I get the urge to go home. Have you ever just wanted to go home? Twenty years is a long time to be away. Jacob had been blessed in Paddan Aram. He’d also had his fill of Laban and his sons. Surely, he missed his mother and father. He’d probably gained some appreciation for his father Isaac. He probably wanted his parents to see their grandchildren—especially that favorite—Joseph and for them to meet Rachel. But, the true encouragement was when God sent His angel to remind him that He’d done everything He’ promised Jacob at Bethel and that at long last it was time to go home. And so, he did.
Laban, eventually—after 3 days—heard of it and took after this rebellious son-in-law that he couldn’t seem to manipulate to his advantage no matter how he dealt with him.
But, God goes before—before Jacob and before Laban who eventually catches up to him.
God, Himself, warned Laban in a dream, and even though there isn’t any indication that Laban worshiped God, he wasn’t foolish enough to disregard Him either.
So, even though the parting between Laban and Jacob might not have been loving, it was somewhat civil. Of course, there is that incident of the household gods that Rachel had stolen and Laban pilfering through all Jacob’s tents. But, nevertheless, God protected Jacob just as he said He would. And, Jacob surely lay awake in his tent as Laban and his sons departed and turned his thoughts away from Paddan Aram with a sigh.
God had shown Himself true to this point. But, Jacob surely wondered what lay ahead for him. Perhaps his thoughts drifts away from Laban and his sons to his father, his mother, his brother.
Esau—surely Esau gave him pause even 20 years later.
What about this God of his father Isaac and his grandfather Abraham?
What about the God of our fathers?
—the parishioner who doesn’t do anything