Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, an ordained Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.
However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.
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November 25, 2018
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 30:22-32, 43
KEY VERSE: And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. (Genesis 30:22)
INTRODUCTION: What should we look for as we study Genesis chapter 30?
∑ The Theme Of Genesis Chapter 30.
There are two major themes in this chapter: the building of Jacobís family (Genesis 30:1Ė24), and the building of Jacobís fortune (Genesis 30:25Ė43). Various people (including Jacob) thought they were in control of the situation, but all of it was in the hands of God.
∑ The Problem Of Having Too Many Wives.
Having grown up his motherís favored son (Genesis 25:28), Jacob was accustomed to a woman telling him what to do. But now he had four different women involved in his life! When he came home from the fields, he never knew which one he would be living with! The schemer discovered the pain that people feel when their lives are selfishly manipulated by others.
∑ The Birth Of Two Sons To Rachel.
Rachel will have only two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph will save the whole family from destruction.
INSIGHT: Now here is the list of Jacobís (i.e., Israelís) twelve sons who will eventually comprise the twelve tribes of the Nation of Israel (See Genesis 32:24-30).
First, Born to Leah: (1) Reuben, (2) Simeon, (3) Levi, (4) Judah, (5) Issachar, (6) Zebulun, (7) Dinah (a daughter).
Second, Born to Bilhah (Rachelís maid): (1) Dan, (2) Naphtali
Third, Born to Zilpah (Leahís maid): (1) Gad, (2) Asher
Fourth, Born to Rachel: (1) Joseph, (2) Benjamin (Born back in Jacobís homeland).
Believe me, Jacob had his hands full with these twelve boys! Also, we find that there was a girl, and her name was Dinah.
∑ The Dirty Trick By Laban That Backfired.
Laban tried to trick Jacob and make him poor, but God overruled and made Jacob a very wealthy man. In fact, God even blessed Laban because of Jacob, and the old trickster admitted it (Genesis 30:27)! It was Godís blessing and not Jacobís schemes that increased his flocks. God was keeping the promises He had made to Jacob at Bethel (Genesis 28:13Ė15). When we are in difficult situations, we can trust God to care for us.
I. JACOB ASKS TO RETURN HOME. (Genesis 30:22-26)
A. The Lord Answered Rachelís Prayer. (Genesis 30:22-24)
(Genesis 30:22-24) 22 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. 23 And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: 24 And she called his name Joseph; and said, The Lord shall add to me another son.
Joseph is the young man who will go down into the land of Egypt. If we would follow him later in the book we would find that he is quite a remarkable person.
Later on Benjamin will be born to Rachel. The twelve sons of Jacob are important. The twelve tribes of Israel will come from them and finally the Nation of Israel.
B. Jacob Prepares To Leave Laban. (Genesis 30:25-26)
(Genesis 30:25-26)† 25 And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country. 26 Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service which I have done thee.
INSIGHT: Laban was more than 30 years older than Jacob, and employed Jacob for 20 years. Laban promised his younger daughter Rachel to Jacob in return for seven years' service, but he tricked him into marrying his elder daughter Leah instead.
1. Jacob was homesick.
With the birth of Joseph by his beloved wife, Jacob was ready to go to his own place. Jacob had always wanted to return to Canaan (Genesis 27:43, 44). Indeed, God had promised to bring him back to his homeland (Genesis 28:4, 15).
2. Jacob was needed.
Since Genesis speaks only of Labanís daughters during Jacobís visit, Laban probably did not have a son at the time (Genesis 29:16). Therefore he adopted Jacob as his son and principal heir.
3. Jacob was challenged.
The Code of Hammurabi shows that this was a common practice in the ancient Middle East. As the principal heir, Jacob and his family were regarded as a part of Labanís household. But in the intervening years, Laban had fathered sons who would threaten Jacobís status in the family (Genesis 31:1). Therefore, he asked Laban to let him go. But now listen to Uncle Laban -- heís not through yet, you may be sure of that!
II. LABAN OFFERS ADDITIONAL WAGES. (Genesis 30:27-30)
A. Laban Sweet-talks Jacob With Praises. (Genesis 30:27)
(Genesis 30:27) And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake.
This is quite interesting. You may recall that Abimelech, king of Gerar, found that he was blessed when Isaac was in his midst. Now Uncle Laban has discovered that God is with Jacob and has blessed him for Jacobís sake. So Uncle Laban says, ďMy boy, donít rush off; donít leave me. Iíve been blessed, and I want to raise your wages.Ē
B. Laban Offers Jacob Another Bad Deal. (Genesis 30:28)
(Genesis 30:28) And he said, Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it.
In our language today Laban said: ďTell me how much I owe you. Whatever it is, Iíll pay it.Ē Jacob knows by now that, any time Uncle Laban makes a deal, he is the one who will come off the winner. Jacob has learned this lesson, and he really wants to leave.
C. Laban Listens To Jacobís Complaints. (Genesis 30:29-30)
Genesis 30:29-30) 29 And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me. 30 For it was little which thou hadst before I came, and it is now increased unto a multitude; and the Lord hath blessed thee since my coming: and now when shall I provide for mine own house also?
Jacob is singing the blues! He is saying, ďAll Iíve got out of all this service for you are two wives with their two maids and a house full of boys.Ē In fact, he has eleven boys at this point. What in the world is he going to do? How is he going to feed them? He says, ďGod has blessed you and He has prospered you, and I donít have anything.Ē
III. GOD BLESSES JACOB. (Genesis 30:31-32, 43)
A. The Deal Is Set. (Genesis 30:31-32)
(Genesis 30:31-32) 31 And he said, What shall I give thee? And Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me any thing: if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock. 32 I will pass through all thy flock to day, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire.
1. Jacobís deal with Laban concerning sheep.
And Laban said, What shall I give thee? And Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me any thing: if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock:
2. Jacob wanted to take his family home.
The time had come for Jacob to move his large family to his own homeland and be on his own. He now had eleven sons and one daughter and he had more than fulfilled his part of the bargain. He had earned the right to freedom. It was time to stop working for Laban and start building his own future security.
3. Laban wanted Jacob to work for him.
But crafty Laban wasnít about to lose his son-in-law, especially when he knew that Jacobís presence had brought to him the blessing of God (Genesis 30:27-30). Meanwhile, Laban wasnít interested in Jacobís God; he was interested only in the blessings he received because of Jacobís God. Laban surely knew of the promises God had made to Abraham and his descendants (Genesis 12:3), and he wanted to get the most out of them.
4. Jacob offered his deal to Laban.
Laban always sets the ďdealsĒ with Jacob. This time, however, Jacob was prepared for his father-in-law, because the Lord had talked to Jacob in a dream and told him exactly what to do (Genesis 31:1-13).
INSIGHT: All Jacob wanted for his wages was the privilege of building his own flock of sheep and goats from the speckled and spotted animals in Labanís flocks (animals that were considered inferior anyway). These would be separated three daysí journey from Labanís flock so that Laban could investigate at any time and immediately know whether Jacob was robbing him.
B. The Lord Blesses Jacob. (Genesis 30:43)
(Genesis 30:43) And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.
1. Jacob did exactly what the Lord told him to do.
Jacobís peeled sticks belonged in the same category as Rachelís mandrakes (Genesis 30:14-15): They were both superstitious practices that had nothing to do with what actually happened.
It was God who controlled the genetic structure of the animals and multiplied the spotted and streaked sheep and goats, thus increasing Jacobís wealth very quickly.
At Bethel, God promised to bless Jacob, and He kept His promise (Genesis 28:13-15); and since Laban had agreed to Jacobís terms, he could do nothing about the results. All of those animals belonged to Jacob.
2. Jacob greatly prospered because of Godís blessing.
During the next six years, Jacob became a very wealthy man because of his faith and the blessing of the Lord. Now he was ready to strike out on his own, return to his own land and people, and fulfill whatever purposes God had planned for him.
When he had arrived in Padan Aram twenty years before, all he had was his staff (Genesis 32:10). But he had worked hard, suffered much, and trusted God. Now he had a large family (12 children at this time) and owned extensive flocks of healthy sheep and goats, as well as camels and donkeys and servants to care for all the animals.
CONCLUSION: What action did Jacob finally take (See Genesis 31)?
∑ Jacob, His Family, Many Servants, And His Animals Headed To His Homeland.
Fed up with his father-in-law, Jacob packed up his family and vanished without leaving a forwarding address. When Laban finally caught up with them, he scolded Jacob for leaving so suddenly.
Then, ďJacob became very angry, and he challenged LabanĒ (Genesis 31:36). Since his attempt to tiptoe away had failed, Jacob realized there was no way around an honest discussion of past (and present) offenses with the father of his wives.
∑ Jacob And Laban Had To Make Things Right Between Them.
Rehashing wrongs only intensifies our urge to escape, unless forgiveness is involved. Jacob had to forgive Laban for manipulating him relationally (Genesis 31:29:25) and in business matters (Genesis 31:7). And Laban had to forget about his missing idols (Genesis31:30) and the farewell party he never got to host (Genesis 31:27).
With their issues in the open, the two men promised not to harm each other (Genesis 31:52). Instead of distancing himself, Jacob had taken a step closer to Laban, agreeing to leave his grievances in Godís hands. Laban reciprocated and asked God to be their judge (Genesis 31:53).
∑ Jacob Finally Made Peace With His Father-in-law.
In the end, Laban kissed his kin and blessed them (Genesis 31:55). While not every family feud has a tidy resolution, there is a better chance for harmony when we stop avoiding our family issues, face the hard work of forgiveness, and call a truce with the relatives weíd rather renounce. -- Adapted from Jennifer Schuldt, Our Daily Bread, November 14, 2010
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: ďGod never gives up on His love and purposes for our lives.Ē
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REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the King James Bible (KJV), The Moody Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network (www.ttb.org), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believerís Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Robersonís Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: (http://www.intouch.org/), Don Robinsonís Bible Outlines, Womenís Study Bible, The Bible Readerís Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbeís Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: (http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/), Dr. Cliff Robinsonís Bible Outlines, Wiersbeís Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carrís The Sermon Notebook (www.sermonnotebook.org), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbeís ďBeĒ Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries (http://rbc.org/), selected illustrations, and other references.
REV. RONALD PURKEYíS OFFICE
E-mail: Ronald Purkey