The Restored Orchard

Deeper Roots – Genesis 30:26-43

A humbled and open heart is fertile soil for God’s seeds of wisdom. Establishing deeper roots requires analyzing God’s word to discover truths, values, and lessons for application to our lives. Periodically, a scripture or passage calls for further exploration, like Genesis 30:26-43.

26 Let me take my wives and children, for I have earned them by serving you, and let me be on my way. You certainly know how hard I have worked for you.”

27 “Please listen to me,” Laban replied. “I have become wealthy, for the Lord has blessed me because of you. 28 Tell me how much I owe you. Whatever it is, I’ll pay it.”

29 Jacob replied, “You know how hard I’ve worked for you, and how your flocks and herds have grown under my care. 30 You had little indeed before I came, but your wealth has increased enormously. The Lord has blessed you through everything I’ve done. But now, what about me? When can I start providing for my own family?”

31 “What wages do you want?” Laban asked again.

Jacob replied, “Don’t give me anything. Just do this one thing, and I’ll continue to tend and watch over your flocks. 32 Let me inspect your flocks today and remove all the sheep and goats that are speckled or spotted, along with all the black sheep. Give these to me as my wages. 33 In the future, when you check on the animals you have given me as my wages, you’ll see that I have been honest. If you find in my flock any goats without speckles or spots, or any sheep that are not black, you will know that I have stolen them from you.”

34 “All right,” Laban replied. “It will be as you say.” 35 But that very day Laban went out and removed the male goats that were streaked and spotted, all the female goats that were speckled and spotted or had white patches, and all the black sheep. He placed them in the care of his own sons, 36 who took them a three-days’ journey from where Jacob was. Meanwhile, Jacob stayed and cared for the rest of Laban’s flock.

37 Then Jacob took some fresh branches from poplar, almond, and plane trees and peeled off strips of bark, making white streaks on them. 38 Then he placed these peeled branches in the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink, for that was where they mated. 39 And when they mated in front of the white-streaked branches, they gave birth to young that were streaked, speckled, and spotted. 40 Jacob separated those lambs from Laban’s flock. And at mating time he turned the flock to face Laban’s animals that were streaked or black. This is how he built his own flock instead of increasing Laban’s.

41 Whenever the stronger females were ready to mate, Jacob would place the peeled branches in the watering troughs in front of them. Then they would mate in front of the branches. 42 But he didn’t do this with the weaker ones, so the weaker lambs belonged to Laban, and the stronger ones were Jacob’s. 43 As a result, Jacob became very wealthy, with large flocks of sheep and goats, female and male servants, and many camels and donkeys.

Genesis 30:26-43 NLT

Our Deeper Roots passage in Genesis demonstrates how God’s favor is not dependent on the environment, circumstances, or skillset. Our scripture selection begins with Jacob and his uncle, Laban discussing Jacob’s departure. Jacob had finished his years of service for his wives, Leah and Rachel, and was ready to return to his home country. Laban knows that his wealth is because of the favor on Jacob’s life and Jacob knows how much his presence has benefitted Laban. So they negotiate a deal, Jacob will take all of the black, speckled, or spotted flocks. Laban quickly agrees and proceeds to separate all of the animals. He sends the black, speckled, and spotted animals with his sons and keeps them separate from the remaining flock that he leaves with Jacob. Jacob outwits his uncle with peeled bark to grow a large number of strong speckled and spotted animals with his uncle’s flock.

Laban knew that he was being blessed in proximity and he didn’t want to lose it. So when Jacob suggested keeping the speckled and spotted animals, Laban knew that that population of animals would be rarer, and smaller in number; so he agreed. But Laban made it even more difficult for Jacob by separating the flocks from each other. Determined for getting his independence, Jacob used the white bark from trees while mating the animals to get them to produce stronger spotted and speckled offspring. His selective mating practices worked; his flock flourished while Laban’s became weaker.

The biggest piece in all of this is God. Remember, the favor of God outweighs any manipulation or deception of man, period. Before Jacob arrived at Laban’s home, he was given a promise by God that he would prosper. Now Laban deceived Jacob in several ways, like marrying both of his daughters for 14 years of service and the trickery with flocks of animals; but God’s favor was still on Jacob. Yes, Jacob employed tactics in mating Laban’s flock, but it was God’s hand that ultimately allowed him to prosper. When God’s promise and favor are on you, the environment, the circumstances, and your skillset are little details. God will accomplish all that He sets out to do and your role is to keep being obedient to His instructions.

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