PATHS In Bible Chapters

Genesis 31
Theme: Going Home
Key Text: Verse 18


            Jacob had been gone from home approximately twenty years, and a lot of water had gone under the bridge. He had his own family now, and was well established in the land of Syria. In fact, this country was the only homeland his wives and his twelve sons had known. But, the memories of home lingered in Jacob’s mind. Although he dreaded any encounter with his brother, Esau, he longed to see his father and mother, if they were yet alive. Apparently, too, he had never gotten the land of plenty out of his blood. Here is the record of his homegoing and all the events surrounding it.


1. The Conflicts That Detach Us
            From the beginning, Jacob had trouble getting along with Laban, his father-in-law. But now, the heat was on! His brothers-in-law accused him of taking advantage of their father, “And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before” (31:2). However, this proved to be one of the keys to Jacob’s departure. Sometimes, things happen in life that, at the time, we wish had never happened. Yet, later, it is evident that these events were the very things that promoted, or propelled, us to higher ground.


2. The Call That Draws Us
            In the hour of Jacob’s trouble, another deciding factor, even more significant than the conflict itself, was introduced. “And the Lord said unto Jacob, ‘Return unto the land of thy fathers, and thy kindred; and I will be with thee’” (31:3). Jacob explained to his wives that “the God of Bethel” had summoned him in a dream to leave their home country and go back to the land of his people (31:13). And, although God had spoken to Jacob, and not to his wives, they wisely and willingly responded, “Whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do” (31:16).


3. The Confrontations That Drive Us
            When Laban heard that he left “to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan” (31:18), he pursued until he “overtook Jacob” in “the mountains of Gilead” (31:25). In this inevitable confrontation - - something that we all must face in one form or another - - Jacob was rebuked for leaving without saying, “Good-bye” (see 31:26-29). Then, he was accused of stealing the family’s false gods. However, after Laban searched and “did not find the household idols” (31:34), an agreement was made between them (see 31:44-54), and one went one way, and one went the other way.


            A preacher friend of mine told me about buying his old homeplace. He was raised there until he was five years old. Then, the family moved away and the roads of life led him elsewhere. But, now with children and grandchildren, and after pastoring for over thirty years, he is cleaning up the land and planning to build a log cabin on the beautiful mountain property. Oh, dear friend, have you wandered away from God? Do you hear Him calling you home? Are you tired of living in the far country? May you be enabled to get back to where you once were with God!