Hired Man in Haran

9 November 2014 am – Genesis 30:25-43 – Gen 14 – Scott Childs

Introduction: The first fourteen years that Jacob worked for Laban were to pay his debt for his wives. The first seven passed quickly, but the second seven were filled with conflicts as we learned last week. Now that his debt was paid, Jacob became Laban’s hired man as he head shepherd of all the flocks. We must remember that Jacob was not a young man at this time. He was 91 years old and still a hard worker.

Transition: We can divide Jacob’s work as a hired man in Haran into three sections: His desire, his deal, and his dominate flock. As we work our way through this section, we will again find practical principles for living.

1.        Jacob’s Desire to Leave Haran

a.         Haran was not Jacob’s true home (v.25-26)

1)         Jacob knew that God had promised to take him back to Canaan, the land that God had promised his forefathers (Ge 28:15).

2)         Fourteen years had passed and Jacob had now paid his debt to Laban for his wives.

a)         Jacob is a good example of a hard worker.

b)         He was honest and kept his deal with Laban. He worked seven years for Rachel, was tricked into marrying Leah, and worked another seven years for Rachel. Laban had not been fair with him, yet he did his duty faithfully.

3)         Jacob now longed to go home and he presented his request to his father-in-law, Laban (v.25-26).

O  We can learn good work ethics from Jacob. Even if your boss is unreasonable or unfair, it is still right to do an honest day’s work. We must remember the words the Lord gave to slaves on the subject of work.

V   (Colossians 3:22-25) Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:  And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

b.         Laban did not want Jacob to leave (v.27)

1)         Laban’s reason was not that he would miss his daughters and grandchildren. His reason was greed.

2)         He did not want to lose the special blessing of God that he was enjoying while Jacob worked for him. Note what he said in v.27.

a)         He had learned by experience that God blessed him because of Jacob. That says a lot for Jacob’s testimony.

b)         Jacob had many faults, but he had a real relationship with God. The Bible does not tell us anything about Jacob’s fellowship with God during those years, but we do know that God blessed him.

O  None of us is perfect, but if we have a personal relationship with the Lord through salvation, and we keep that relationship flourishing, others ought to notice. (See “A Flourishing Relationship with God”)

2.        Jacob’s Deal with Laban

a.         Laban offered to let Jacob choose his wages (v.28)

1)         Jacob reminded Laban of how his cattle (flocks) had grown from little to many in the 14 years he had been his hired man (v.29-30)

2)         Then Jacob asked how he was to provide for his own house? So far, he had received food and shelter but nothing else.

3)         Jacob said, “Thou shalt not give me anything” (v.31). Then in the next sentence, he asked for something. What does this mean? I believe he was saying, “Do not give me anything you value.” Then he asked for the speckled, spotted, and brown sheep and for the speckled and spotted goats.

²  Since in Oriental countries sheep are commonly white and goats black, the number of speckled and spotted animals (i.e. sheep with little spots and largo patches of black, and goats with little or large points of white, in their hair) would be unusually small. Pulpit

4)         Jacob’s request was very modest – Laban would take the “prize” sheep and goats and Jacob would take the “few” with these poor quality markings.

5)         Jacob pointed out that his righteousness would be obvious with this arrangement because Laban would be able to see clearly if Jacob stole any of his flock.

b.         Laban accepted Jacob’s offer (v.34)

1)         The prize sheep and goats were separated from the less quality ones (v.35). We are not certain whether Laban separated them and gave his sons charge over them and Jacob would get only new offspring or whether Jacob separated them and set his sons over them.

2)         Personally, I think Jacob got ALL the imperfect ones right then. Otherwise, Laban could later say that he stole some of the imperfect ones from his sons.

O  We do not need to seek a high-paying job. If we will learn to live modestly and honestly, God will bless and meet our needs.

3.        Jacob’s Dominate Flock

a.         Jacob made special rods (v.37)

1)         Jacob took three kinds of stick and pilled (peeled) the bark off in stripes. Then he set these sticks in front of the flocks when they came to drink water from the troughs.

2)         We do not know whether God actually used these sticks to control the breeding of the flocks or whether it was simply Jacob’s superstition.

3)         We do know that later Jacob told his wives that in a dream that he learned that God controlled the breeding process (Gen 31:11-12).

4)         Because Jacob was very modest in his deal with Laban and he even appealed to his righteousness during the deal, it hardly seems that he would seek to be dishonest in his work. I rather think that Jacob was following the leading of the Lord and the Lord caused the flocks to breed as they did.

b.         Jacob used the rods selectively (v.41)

1)         He placed the rods before the flocks when the strong ones were breeding and not when the weak ones bread. Once again, Jacob may have been following the Lord’s instructions.

2)         By this means, the strong sheep and goats bore speckled and spotted lambs and kids and the weak ones bore plain coloured ones. (v.42).

O  For years, I have assumed that Jacob was being dishonest in dealing with the breeding of the flocks, but I do not want to accuse him falsely. He may very well have been following God’s directions. God has often used human participation in His miracles (He had Moses strike the rock, the widow poured the oil that multiplied, Elisha put a stick in the river to make the axe float, the disciples distributed bread and fish to the 5000). See Henry Morris, “The Genesis Record” for additional thoughts.

3)         Jacob’s flocks increased greatly (v.43). God was blessing Jacob. We do not find God blessing dishonesty in the Bible. For example, Achan stole to get rich and died for it. Gehazi lied to get wealth and got leprosy. If Jacob was being dishonest to get gain, I do not believe God would have blessed him as he did.

Conclusion: So what have we learned today? We learned the importance of working hard. If we personally know the Lord and have a flourishing relationship with Him, others will see a difference in our lives. God can stretch our income if we put him first. Jesus said, (Matthew 6:33) “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Dishonesty is never the path to God’s blessing.

Do you have a personal relationship with God? Are you 100% positive that you are going to heaven? If not, you can. Jesus, God in human flesh, lived a sinless life, died in your place and then rose again from the dead to pay for your sin. If you will admit your guilt and place your faith in Jesus’ payment alone, you can be saved.

Song: Only Trust Him – 252