Sunday, August 8, 2021

God’s Timeline – Part 36 Laban Chases Jacob

God’s Timeline – Part 36

Laban Chases Jacob

Pastor Bruce A. Shields

House of Faith Church | |

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SERMON TIMELINE (2021 A.D. = 5781 Jewish Calendar Year)


-         Creation Week (Approximately 4000 - 3900 B.C.)

o   Adam, Eve, and the Fall


-         Cain and Abel

o   Evil Fills the World


-         Noah Did All God Commanded Him

o   The Flood 2379 – 2279 B.C.)

o   God’s Covenant with Noah

o   Noah’s Sons and Ham’s Sin

o   Nations of Noah’s Sons


-         Tower of Babel


-         God calls Abram (2091 B.C.)

o   Abram and Lot part ways

o   Rescue of Lot


-         The Lord’s Covenant with Abram for Isaac

o   Hagar and Ishmael Born (2080 B.C.) Abram 86 years old

o   Sarai and Isaac

o   The Three Visitors

o   Abraham Pleads for Sodom


-         Birth of Isaac (2066 B.C. Abraham 99 years old Sarah 90-Hagar and Ishmael sent away)

o   The Lord tests Abraham (2048 – 2046 B.C. Isaac 18-20 years old)

o   Sarah Dies 127 years old (2029 B.C. Abraham is 136)


-         Isaac marries Rebekah (2028 B.C. Isaac was 37 when he married Rebekah)


-         Jacob and Esau are born (2006 B.C. Isaac was 60 Abraham 159)

o   Abraham dies at 175 (1991 B.C. Isaac was 82)

o   Isaac receives the Birthright and his father’s blessing

o   Esau marries two Hittites at 40 (1967 B.C.)

o   Esau marries a daughter of Ishmael

o   Jacob travels to his Grandfather’s family to find a wife (1930 B.C.)

o   Jacob’s Dream at Bethel

o   Jacob marries Leah then Rachel

§  Levi is born (1920 B.C.)

§  Joseph is born (1916 B.C.)

o   Jacob fled Laban and is pursued (1910 B.C.)





Timeline correction – the preceding timeline is the corrected timeline with a more accurate account of years. I made a simple mathematical error early on which threw the rest of the dates off by 20 or so years.


I have since adjusted and corrected the errors.


The closer to year zero we get, the more accurate the accounts and dates. Hopefully I won’t make this mistake again. Just one of the joys of living with dyslexia.



Last week we read about Jacob leaving his father Isaac’s land and traveling to his grandfathers for two reasons, first to get away from his brother Esau who wanted to kill Jacob as soon as his father Isaac died, and the second, Jacob needed to marry a woman from the line of Shem to fulfill God’s Will to not only populate the earth with countless offspring but bring about the Savior through the bloodline of Shem.


After Jacobs brother Esau married two Hittite women who were from the Canaanite line, and then marrying a daughter of the rejected family line of Ishmael, Jacob was going to be the hope of bringing about the birth of the Savior.


Jacob had a vision on the way to his grandfathers. The Lord “officially” passed the promise of Abraham that was passed to Abraham’s son Isaac, and now to Jacob.


The Lord promised to protect Jacob, fulfill the promise (covenant) He made with Abraham, and be with Jacob during his travels.


Jacob accepted and the covenant was passed on.


Jacob arrived at his grandfather’s land, wanting to marry Rachel, the youngest daughter of his uncle Laban, struck a deal to work 7 years for her hand. Laban tricked Jacob into marrying the older daughter Leah and made Jacob work another 7 years for Rachel.


During this time, Jacob had many children with Leah, and Rachel, and their handmaids (because of times of infertility and the sibling rivalry between the women), because the scripture tells us that Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah.



Genesis 31:1-3;14-21;22-24


1Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were saying, “Jacob has taken everything our father owned and has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.” 2 And Jacob noticed that Laban’s attitude toward him was not what it had been.


3 Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”


Then Rachel and Leah replied, “Do we still have any share in the inheritance of our father’s estate? 15 Does he not regard us as foreigners? Not only has he sold us, but he has used up what was paid for us. 16 Surely all the wealth that God took away from our father belongs to us and our children. So do whatever God has told you.”


17 Then Jacob put his children and his wives on camels, 18 and he drove all his livestock ahead of him, along with all the goods he had accumulated in Paddan Aram, [Northwest Mesopotamia] to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.


19 When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father’s household gods. 20 Moreover, Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him he was running away. 21 So he fled with all he had, crossed the Euphrates River, and headed for the hill country of Gilead.


22On the third day Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 23 Taking his relatives with him, he pursued Jacob for seven days and caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead. 24 Then God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and said to him, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.”




a.      Laban confronts Jacob about leaving in secret

                                        i.      “What have you done? You’ve deceived me, and you’ve carried off my daughters like captives in war. 27 Why did you run off secretly and deceive me? Why didn’t you tell me, so I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of timbrels and harps? 28 You didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters goodbye. You have done a foolish thing.

1.      Knowing God had to speak to Laban, and warn him of harming Jacob, and the fact that Laban took advantage of Jacob, deceiving him many times, changing his wages many times (10), growing cold towards him, I think it is obvious, Laban wanted to kill Jacob.


2.      And probably would have if God had not warned him.


b.     Laban then questions why Jacob stole his household gods

                                        i.      I have the power to harm you; but last night the God of your father said to me, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.’ 30 Now you have gone off because you longed to return to your father’s household. But why did you steal my gods?”

1.      Remember, Rachel had taken them without anyone’s knowledge while her father was off shearing the sheep.



c.      Jacob responds

                                        i.      Jacob answered Laban, “I was afraid, because I thought you would take your daughters away from me by force.


                                     ii.      But if you find anyone who has your gods, that person shall not live. In the presence of our relatives, see for yourself whether there is anything of yours here with me; and if so, take it.” Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the gods.




a.      Laban and his relatives search the tents for the missing household gods

                                        i.      So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent and into the tent of the two female servants, but he found nothing.


                                     ii.      After he came out of Leah’s tent, he entered Rachel’s tent.



b.     Rachel hid them in her saddlebag

                                        i.      Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them inside her camel’s saddle and was sitting on them. Laban searched through everything in the tent but found nothing.



c.      Rachel then lies so she doesn’t have to stand from the saddle

                                        i.      Rachel said to her father, “Don’t be angry, my lord, that I cannot stand up in your presence; I’m having my period.” So he searched but could not find the household gods.


                                     ii.      It is revealed to us now that Rachel is not just committing sin by idol worship, and polytheistic belief, but she is also a liar.


                                  iii.      I see know why the scripture says Leah was the one with weak eyes. Weak, defined here as kind-hearted, gentle. Seems Rachel is deceptive and disobedient to the true God to whom her husband serves and is protected by to fulfill the covenant of Abraham.


                                   iv.      I find it interesting that her tent was searched last. Perhaps she was not just Jacob’s favorite, but her father’s as well.  




a.      Jacob angrily asks Laban, “What is my crime?”

                                        i.      “How have I wronged you that you hunt me down? 37 Now that you have searched through all my goods, what have you found that belongs to your household? Put it here in front of your relatives and mine, and let them judge between the two of us.


                                     ii.      “I have been with you for twenty years now. Your sheep and goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten rams from your flocks. 39 I did not bring you animals torn by wild beasts; I bore the loss myself. And you demanded payment from me for whatever was stolen by day or night. 40 This was my situation: The heat consumed me in the daytime and the cold at night, and sleep fled from my eyes. 41 It was like this for the twenty years I was in your household. I worked for you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks, and you changed my wages ten times. 42 If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you would surely have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands, and last night he rebuked you.”


b.     Laban decides to make a covenant with Jacob

                                        i.      Laban answered Jacob, “The women are my daughters, the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks. All you see is mine. Yet what can I do today about these daughters of mine, or about the children they have borne? 44 Come now, let’s make a covenant, you and I, and let it serve as a witness between us.”


c.      The covenant agreed upon stated

                                        i.      “May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other.


                                     ii.      If you mistreat my daughters or if you take any wives besides my daughters, even though no one is with us, remember that God is a witness between you and me.”


                                  iii.      Laban also said to Jacob, “Here is this heap, and here is this pillar I have set up between you and me. 52 This heap is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not go past this heap to your side to harm you and that you will not go past this heap and pillar to my side to harm me.


                                   iv.      May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.”




Jacob takes this oath with Laban and the two of them agree.


HOWEVER – Jacob does not swear by the God of Abraham, or by the false gods of Nahor. Instead, verse 53 tells us, “So Jacob took an oath in the name of the Fear of his father Isaac.”


Idol worship had crept into Laban’s polytheistic views, believing in many gods, including the true God, the God of Abraham who spoke to him, and warned him not to harm Jacob.



Jacob then offers a sacrifice and they all eat together and spend one last night in camp.


The next morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and daughters and blessed them.


Laban then left the camp and returned home.



Next week we will read of Jacob preparing to return home and meet Esau (Genesis 32)



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