By Ezekiel Olukolajo
And said unto them, I see your father’s countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me. And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me.
If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked. Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.
And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled. And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I.
And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. Genesis 31:5-12.
Going by the antecedents of Jacob, he was a man well known for his ability to arm-twist and take advantage of others. The way and manner he swindled his way to get the covenant blessing meant for his elder brother Esau, was clearly a display of evil intelligence. Having succeeded in robbing his brother of the right of the firstborn, he fled away from home to take cover in his maternal uncle – Laban’s house in order to escape death.
Jacob’s expectation was that Laban’s house would be a haven of peace for him, but in the contrary, the place turned out to be house of bondage and servitude of sort. At the slightest opportunity, Laban was ever ready to take advantage of and use him; it is obvious that Jacob’s ability to arm-twist could not in any way match Laban’s craftiness. No sooner than he settled down in Laban’s house, Jacob realized that he was more or less in slavery!
It was from the very first day Jacob stepped into Laban’s house, that Laban began to exploit him. This exploitation, though, started with Jacob electing on his own volition to serve seven years in order to marry Rachael. However, having been deceived into marrying Leah instead, Jacob was compelled to spend additional seven years of his life to serve Laban in order to marry Rachael who he really loved. It is unfortunate that a whole fourteen years of Jacob’s life did not serve any meaningful purpose other than to make payment for dowry! For complete fourteen years, in spite of his hard work, faithful and diligent service, Jacob had absolutely nothing he could call his own since those years were meant to settle dowry he was required to pay in order to marry Laban’s daughters. How sad!
After the expiration of about twenty years, God indicated that it was time for Jacob to depart from Laban. Considering Laban’s prowess at deceiving and cheating, Jacob would have been forced to leave empty-handed if not for God’s mercy. God had actually seen all the predicaments of Jacob and decided to compensate him for all the years he labored in Laban’s house. When Jacob’s wage was about to be agreed with Laban, God gave him a divine secret through a dream, and this became the basis of his negotiation with Laban. From the revelation, Jacob observed that all the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled. Being guided by this revelation, he requested that the speckled and spotted cattle should be his wage. From the moment the negotiation was sealed, due to divine providence, all the cattle began to give birth to spotted and speckled and that was how Jacob increased greatly in possession. This apparently was beyond Laban! Although he succeeded in changing the terms over and over again, ten times within five years, yet Jacob was always having the upper hands!
Jacob’s prosperity within the last five to six years of his stay in Laban’s house was a clear demonstration of divine intervention. His first winning secret was that God was with him. What gave Jacob an upper hand over Laban was not his intelligence or ability to arm-twist; it was God Himself who dispossessed Laban just because it was time to compensate Jacob for his hard labor of many years. Truth is, no matter how hard a man struggles in life, it takes only the Almighty God to prosper. So many people have spent better part of their lives struggling like Jacob, relying on their own ability and intelligence to win the battles of life. Without God on your side, you can be sure that the world will exploit, use, cheat, impoverish and always take advantage of you!
Another winning secret of Jacob was that the covenant of Abraham was upon him. Although, he was yet to experience full capacity of the covenant blessing until he had an encounter with God at Jabbok on his way to Bethel, however, through God’s mercy he had a measure of the covenant blessing upon his life in the house of Laban. Just as the covenant placed Jacob ahead, everyone who is in covenant with God through Christ has an edge above others and should operate with that understanding.
Dearly beloved, when you become a partner with God, you will have access to divine secret which is required to give you a upper hand in life no matter how critical the situation may be. If you have been relying on your own ability to win the battles of life, it is hi time you changed your style and focus on the Almighty God. When God is with you, there is no one that can take advantage or humiliate you.
Ezekiel is an Insurance practitioner by profession and a teacher of the word by calling. He is specifically committed to fundamentals of discipleship and the Christian Faith. He also serves as resident Pastor in an Evangelical Church.
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