February 15, 2019

Two Truths and a Lie

Genesis 30:25–43

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Jacob's Prosperity

25 As soon as Rachel had borne Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own home and country. 26 Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, that I may go, for you know the service that I have given you.” 27 But Laban said to him, “If I have found favor in your sight, I have learned by divination that1 the LORD has blessed me because of you. 28 Name your wages, and I will give it.” 29 Jacob said to him, “You yourself know how I have served you, and how your livestock has fared with me. 30 For you had little before I came, and it has increased abundantly, and the LORD has blessed you wherever I turned. But now when shall I provide for my own household also?” 31 He said, “What shall I give you?” Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this for me, I will again pasture your flock and keep it: 32 let me pass through all your flock today, removing from it every speckled and spotted sheep and every black lamb, and the spotted and speckled among the goats, and they shall be my wages. 33 So my honesty will answer for me later, when you come to look into my wages with you. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and black among the lambs, if found with me, shall be counted stolen.” 34 Laban said, “Good! Let it be as you have said.” 35 But that day Laban removed the male goats that were striped and spotted, and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white on it, and every lamb that was black, and put them in the charge of his sons. 36 And he set a distance of three days' journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob pastured the rest of Laban's flock.

37 Then Jacob took fresh sticks of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white of the sticks. 38 He set the sticks that he had peeled in front of the flocks in the troughs, that is, the watering places, where the flocks came to drink. And since they bred when they came to drink, 39 the flocks bred in front of the sticks and so the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted. 40 And Jacob separated the lambs and set the faces of the flocks toward the striped and all the black in the flock of Laban. He put his own droves apart and did not put them with Laban's flock. 41 Whenever the stronger of the flock were breeding, Jacob would lay the sticks in the troughs before the eyes of the flock, that they might breed among the sticks, 42 but for the feebler of the flock he would not lay them there. So the feebler would be Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's. 43 Thus the man increased greatly and had large flocks, female servants and male servants, and camels and donkeys.

Footnotes

[1] 30:27 Or have become rich and

Two Truths and a Lie



Key Verse | Genesis 30:30

For you had little before I came, and it has increased abundantly, and the LORD has blessed you wherever I turned. But now when shall I provide for my own household also?

Bio | Debi Ndindjock

Hello, sojourners! Glad to be camped here with you.

I was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and as the saying goes, got to Texas as fast as I could. I serve with Watermark's re:generation ministry, a place where I have experienced and witnessed God's transformative power. As I write this, I am preparing to travel to Congo on a discipleship trip with Watermark to share with others the comfort we ourselves have received from God (2 Corinthians 1:4).

I am honored to be the wife of A.C. and the mother of two funny boys, Keenan and Noah. 

Central Truth

There is nothing we can do or not do to earn God's faithfulness. He is faithful to us even when we do not deserve it. We can trust that God will always accomplish what He has set out to do. He keeps His promises!

Devotional | Genesis 30:25–43

Today, we see Jacob eager to establish his independence from his uncle Laban and move to Canaan, the land God had promised him in Genesis 28:15. He has served Laban for almost 20 years of labor marked by...

Today, we see Jacob eager to establish his independence from his uncle Laban and move to Canaan, the land God had promised him in Genesis 28:15. He has served Laban for almost 20 years of labor marked by treachery and ill treatment.

Just like Jacob could count on God to deliver His promise, he can also count on his uncle's deviousness as he attempts to leave. Laban had previously double-crossed Jacob when he tried to marry his daughter Rachel, and Laban again attempts to trick Jacob into working longer for a compromised pay.

It turns out that cunning runs in this family, and Jacob was not going down without a scheme of his own. After all, Jacob had won his birthright by conspiring with his mother Rebekah (Laban's sister). Jacob uses his shrewdness to outwit his uncle and prosper immensely, just as God had promised.

I must admit, Jacob is not among my favorite biblical characters. He repeatedly connives and uses deception to twist fate in his favor. However, God still keeps His promise to remain with Jacob and make him prosper. This fact is not lost on Uncle Laban, who sees how God has blessed him, too, through his association with Jacob (Genesis 30:27).

As I wonder why God continues to bless Jacob, I believe the lie, like Laban, that his blessing was based on his character and not on God's. In my pride, I also often find myself thinking that somehow I can depend on my own strength to earn God's favor, yet the truth is that there is nothing I can do or not do to change it.

Don't be deceived, Jacob's actions have harsh consequences, one of which is constant family discord as we have seen. However, even more powerful than Jacob's shortcomings, is that God has chosen to fulfill His purpose through him.

The truth is that God is always faithful to His promise; He is not a liar, nor does He go back on His Word. "[I]f we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself." (2 Timothy 2:13)

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Discussion Questions

1. Did you spot the two truths and the lie? I made it really easy.

2. How have you tried to take matters into your own hands instead of trusting God to work it out?

3. Compare times that you have trusted in God to act versus times that you have relied on your strength. What were the differences?

12 Comments available

Rachael Tonn 1 day ago
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Well said Sue, that God blesses us despite our jerkiness! Such a powerful truth!

Ricardo Garcia 1 day ago

Q3. Before following the path of God, I could relate to Jacob, always twisting things around in a dishonest way to get what I wanted, and it felt good, but as I sit down and think about it, the result might not have been great at the time and wonder, if it would have been more fulfilling if I would have let God do his thing. Now, I try to be patient because God has everything laid out for me at his own time, which will eventually be the perfect time for me.

Jimmy Dyer 2 days ago

Hi,

Jay Caruso 2 days ago

Thank you Debi!! That was a great devotion and that simplicity of it help me understand even more fully. God has patience and I continue to need to understand that

Debi Ndindjock 2 days ago

I have been immensely blessed reading everybody’s thoughts below.

So here goes:

Truth 1: God is always faithful to His promise. He is not a liar. He does not go back on His Word.

Truth 2: There is nothing I can do or not do to change God’s faithfulness. He is faithful to us even when we are not.

Lie: That we earn God’s favor through merit.

Ginni Beam 2 days ago

Debi, this is SO good! “I believe the lie […] that his blessing was based on his character and not on God’s.” I really needed to be reminded of this truth today. Thanks for some great insights.

greg jones 5 days ago

Debi! Two truths and a lie! I’ve never seen that in this section of scripture! You are amazing!

I’ve always understood this section of scripture in three parts. The first part describes Jacob’s thinking. “Are ewe kidding me.”

The second part describes Laban’s thinking. “Ewes won’t have kids.”

The third part of the story describes what Laban and Jacob both are thinking. He/I do’s have kids. Lots of them.

Two truths and a lie goes right at the heart of what has stumped theologians for years.

There is drinking. A Truth. There is sex. A Truth. There are stripper poles in the troughs. A Lie. They’re just sticks stripped of their bark. Thank you for clearing that up for me. I now think this, whole story, is about God thinking, “re-generation.” Welcome to Texas.

Michael Scaman 5 days ago

“as soon as Rachel bore Joseph” something kicked in and Jacob wanted to head ‘home’ to his promised inheritance and leave this father in law

(leaving 10 other sons feeling second class)

Sue Bohlin 5 days ago

Thanks, Debi. I missed the “easy” part of your 2 truths and a lie, only finding 1 truth and 1 lie labeled as such.

Conversation at the Bohlin house this morning:

Me: How did I never see before Laban scooping up all of Jacob’s colored flocks and separating them from the rest? What a jerk! [Answer: I’d never read the ESV translation before.]

Ray: Oh wait, keep reading till you see what Jacob did. Jerkiness is all OVER Genesis!

And yet, God’s grace is even greater than man’s jerkiness. At the end of the chapter, the ancient Hebrew reads, “The man (Jacob) burst out exceedingly exceedingly." Because God REALLY knows how to bless despite our jerkiness.

Hope Harris 5 days ago

This morning I am reminded of Matthew 5:43-45 this small passage; tells me God is both trustworthy and fair. A God who keeps His word and fulfills His promises despite our broken fallen condition.

From Got Questions points out that God loves even those who hate him by make the sun to shine and the rain to fall on the righteous and unrighteous

https://www.gotquestions.org/rain-just-unjust.html

“God is good, God is faithful and God can be trusted.” Todd Wagner

Lindsey Driscoll 5 days ago

There seems so be so much going on in Jacobs family, I’m surprised this section of Genesis has never been reproduced on a television or movie screen. We see “ baby wars,” and “Sheep wars” going on and we constantly see that any blessing comes from the Lord, not from mans hands.

Hugh Stephenson 5 days ago

At the start of my career some 36 years ago I was fortunate to have a great mentor who taught me many things. Among the most important was the sanctity of a spoken promise. He said (paraphrasing) “Contracts can be broken. But never break a promise”. Warren Buffet talks about doing huge deals over the phone. He knows that trust is the currency of all relationships. There are many other examples.

Laban and Jacob know each other. To them, relationships are transactions. As the saying goes, “there is no honor among thieves”. I find myself almost surprised they are willing to discuss a deal at all.

What they and I miss is God gives us a covenant which is totally one way. His promises don’t depend on their (my) faithfulness, (thank God).

The better I know Him the more I trust Him the better I respond to His promises.

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