Genesis 31: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

The theme of envy and discontent continues from Genesis 30, and these feelings are now within Laban. He and his sons claim that all of Jacob’s wealth is theirs, heavily valuing earthly things to determine their happiness. Mankind’s selfishness results in a constant tearing down of those who are blessed by the Lord. Some claim they have been robbed and deserve more than those who have it. We find more examples of envy between God’s people when Jesus talks to leaders of the Church in 1 Corinthians 3. In fact, envy put Christ on the cross (Matthew 27:18). Through God’s personal direction, Jacob fled from tensions that had reached a dangerous level, from his own extended family! Laban and his sons would be a road block for Jacob and the carrying out of God’s plan. Although problems were multiplying, Jacob found peace in God’s power and promises, remembering all of his blessings were because of the Lord.

‘And it will be said: “Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.’ – Isaiah 57:14

Next, Laban gets mad because someone stole his gods. Think about this for a minute. Someone stole his gods. What kind of gods can be stolen? Not our God! We will never be alone or unfilled, for God is always with us. Find peace in these verses: Joshua 1:9, Zephaniah 3:17, Psalm 23:4, and Psalm 118:6.


We must remember that God is with us because He is in our hearts. He is not in the crosses hanging on our walls, or in the icons and statues in churches (although these are beautiful reminders of His constant presence). God is in us, not in goods that will not last (Isaiah 46). Our hearts should be focused on the Lord, not worldly representations of Him.

Both Rachel and Leah were supportive of their leave, but still looked for their inheritance – or their portion of worldly goods. They already had so much! It is not fully known why Rachel took the idols from her father, but most believe she thought these were part of the wealth that God took away from Laban (we hope). Laban deceived Jacob, and in turn Rachel deceived her father. Stay tuned on what happens to Rachel…

Laban never owns up to his faults, even saying that everything was his, but he will give it to Jacob out of the kindness of his heart. He even passively restates his suspicions, professing the Lord is watching between them (Mizpah means watch or watchtower). Instead, we should confess our sins to each other and pray for healing (James 5:16). Life is too short, and eternity is too long, for building up lies and faking righteousness.

What do you do when you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place? Be like Jacob, who trusted in God’s plan. He fled from those envious with hatred of him, to a place where his furious brother Esau was awaiting his return.


One Reply to “Genesis 31: Between a Rock and a Hard Place”

  1. I think the beauty of this chapter is the theme of God always being with his people. Even when Laban is no longer on Jacob’s side, God always is. He is unwavering love and faithfulness. This faithfulness is returned by his people. To me, even though their lineage seems to tainted by episodes of deceit and waivering faith, it is Jacob who epitomizes 100% commitment to God and his plan. For example, Jacob, Leah, and Rachel trust God enough to flee their home and family. As you mention, Jacob follows this with the faith to travel to his brother, relying solely on God’s protection. Jacob epitomizes being a faithful follower because, on top of his trust in God, it is throughout this chapter and the book of Genesis, alike, that Jacob credits God for all he has.

    Realizing our reliance on God is how we remove the source of most of the sin in our life: our pride. It is in this chapter, we see Jacob embody the same humility we see in Jesus- turning his life over to God and following him obediently.

    Liked by 1 person

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