Genesis 30:35 – 31:13 A mind set on the Spirit is the key to working out the miracles of God
Genesis 30:35 – 31:13 A mind set on the Spirit is the key to working out the miracles of God
So he removed on that day the striped and spotted male goats and all the speckled and spotted female goats, every one with white in it, and all the black ones among the sheep, and gave them into the care of his sons. 36 And he put a distance of three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.
37 Then Jacob took fresh rods of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white stripes in them, exposing the white which was in the rods. 38 He set the rods which he had peeled in front of the flocks in the gutters, even in the watering troughs, where the flocks came to drink; and they mated when they came to drink. 39 So the flocks mated by the rods, and the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted. 40 Jacob separated the lambs, and made the flocks face toward the striped and all the black in the flock of Laban; and he put his own herds apart, and did not put them with Laban’s flock. 41 Moreover, whenever the stronger of the flock were mating, Jacob would place the rods in the sight of the flock in the gutters, so that they might mate by the rods; 42 but when the flock was feeble, he did not put them in; so the feebler were Laban’s and the stronger Jacob’s. 43 So the man became exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks and female and male servants and camels and donkeys.
31:1 Now Jacob heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, “Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s, and from what belonged to our father he has made all this wealth.” 2 Jacob saw the attitude of Laban, and behold, it was not friendly toward him as formerly. 3 Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.” 4 So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to his flock in the field, 5 and said to them, “I see your father’s attitude, that it is not friendly toward me as formerly, but the God of my father has been with me. 6 You know that I have served your father with all my strength. 7 Yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times; however, God did not allow him to hurt me. 8 If he spoke thus, ‘The speckled shall be your wages,’ then all the flock brought forth speckled; and if he spoke thus, ‘The striped shall be your wages,’ then all the flock brought forth striped. 9 Thus God has taken away your father’s livestock and given them to me. 10 And it came about at the time when the flock were mating that I lifted up my eyes and saw in a dream, and behold, the male goats which were mating were striped, speckled, and mottled. 11 Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am.’ 12 He said, ‘Lift up now your eyes and see that all the male goats which are mating are striped, speckled, and mottled; for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you made a vow to Me; now arise, leave this land, and return to the land of your birth.’” Genesis 31:4-13
Jacob, having seen in a vision the secret of his breakthrough renegotiated the terms of his service with Laban. Being determined not to let Jacob go any time, Laban proceeded to clean out the flock of all animals that were variegated. However, the cunning of man cannot defy the power and wisdom of God. Six years on, we see the astronomical growth of Jacob’s flock and the dilapidation of Laban’s. The key to Jacob’s success is in his receptiveness to the things of the Spirit. For he believes all things are possible to those who put their trust in God’s word. However, the reason so many have lost their faith in God’s word is: they do not read it as it is meant to be read… with a mind of the Spirit, which is foolishness by the world’s standards. Today’s devotion teaches us that a mind set on the Spirit is the key to working out the miracles of God.
So he removed on that day the striped and spotted male goats and all the speckled and spotted female goats.
The new agreement caused much dispeace within crafty Jacob who resorted to cheating again. Determined not to leave Jacob with so much as a shred of opportunity to succeed, he removed all variegated animals save those that were purely white. He employed additional insurance by putting a distance of three days’ journey between himself and Jacob. This would ensure that no variegated gene find its way into the now purified gene pool under Jacob’s watch.
Then Jacob took fresh rods of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white stripes in them, exposing the white which was in the rods.
Jacob’s method appeared to originate from his own machination as no such device was suggested by the angel. Apparently, it worked according to how Jacob intended it: If the animals mated while looking at the variegated posts, their young will be variegated. Thus, the variegated posts effectively served as a switch to “turn on” the variegated gene in the male animals if required. Thus, he placed only the stronger animals before the variegated posts to secure for himself a healthy variegated breed. The weaker animals, which are reserved for Laban would not mate before the variegated post so that they might bring forth pure white. Verse 40 is better understood using the below version:
And Jacob separated the lambs, and set before the sheep a speckled ram, and every variegated one among the lambs, and he separated flocks for himself alone, and did not mingle them with the sheep of Laban. Genesis 30:40 (Brenton Greek Septuagint)
Jacob made sure that the animals at the point of birth were allocated into either of the two flocks which are permanently separated. This is to ensure continual breeding of the two distinct breeds: Jacob’s flock which consists of a stronger and healthier gene pool. And Laban’s flock which are weaker.
Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s, and from what belonged to our father he has made all this wealth.
During the course of time, it became increasingly obvious to Laban’s sons that Jacob’s flock were more vigorous and numerous as compared to Laban’s. Jacob became as wealthy while exiled in Paddan-Aram as his grandfather Abraham had become in Egypt. Within a short span of six years, Jacob had gotten wealthy at Laban’s expense having hollowed out his estate and setting him back to the time when he had little. Laban, having noticed Jacob’s prosperity and his state of dilapidation became increasingly hostile and jealous. Having received divine instructions to depart and return to Beersheba, Jacob sought to justify his decision before Rachel and Leah.
Yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times; however, God did not allow him to hurt me.
Jacob began with Laban’s hostility towards him and God’s assurance of protection and providence: I see your father’s attitude, that it is not friendly toward me as formerly, but the God of my father has been with me. Then, he defended his integrity and substantiated Laban’s treachery: You know that I have served your father with all my strength. Yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times. Jacob made known that he owed his prosperity to divine intervention and all things were done as per agreement with Laban: If he spoke thus, ‘The speckled shall be your wages,’ then all the flock brought forth speckled… Thus God has taken away your father’s livestock and given them to me. Jacob recounted how the angel revealed to him in a vision when the flock were mating: that all males in the flock appeared striped, speckled, and mottled.
Lift up now your eyes and see that all the male goats which are mating are striped, speckled, and mottled; for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you.
Following the vision, God spoke by way of the angel giving him a divine strategy to prosper through supernatural means: the male animals even when they are white carry variegated genes that can be turned on supernaturally. The reason for God’s intervention was given as follows: for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you made a vow to Me… Firstly, God saw Laban’s treachery and did not approve of it. Secondly, because Jacob made a vow at Bethel to God to worship and honour Him.
A mind set on the Spirit is the key to working out the miracles of God
When the angel showed Jacob the vision of variegated males, unless he acts upon what he has seen, it remains a dream. The vision is the word of God that was planted in Jacob’s mind. Unless the vision is mixed with faith and action, it cannot bear fruit. Jacob acted upon the divine word by initiating a discussion with Laban according to the vision he has seen. By working with the angels, Jacob devised a process to “turn on” or “turn off” the variegated gene through which he created two distinct flocks. Jacob had taken the vision and run with it becoming savvy and effective in the things of the supernatural. What seems impossible to the natural mind becomes powerful and effective when received by the mind of the Spirit.
Many churchgoers cannot experience God’s miracles because they doubted at the reading of the word. Some faithful believers have a deep desire to experience the supernatural but never got down to experiencing them. Such attempt to receive the divine vision and the word with a natural mind-set. Hence, they spend much time deliberating if the word is true and could not receive the promise as it is written. Their minds are mired by issues of feasibility and traditions of mainstream denominations. But spirit-minded people receive the word directly into the their hearts without questioning its practicality or the mechanics of it. It is saddening that many ministers look to their denomination for set answers without investing time to study the word for themselves. Ironically, many actually lack the confidence to interpret the word. Jacob did not question how by looking at a variegated pole can turn on the variegated gene in the male animal. What he saw, he promptly acted on it, bringing it to pass. For he believed that the angels can do what has been divinely sanctioned.
How can we develop spirit-mindedness to receive the divine word for breakthrough? First, by harbouring a desire to experience all the goodness as written in the word. Paul said in regards to the integrity of God and His word, “For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.” 2 Corinthians 1:20. Secondly, by believing what God has promised, He will accomplish (see Romans 4:21). Thirdly, we must demonstrate faith by acting on the promise and by walking in the truth one day at a time.
All things are possible to those who believe in Him
Although Laban had the upper hand but he could not defy the favour of God upon Jacob’s life. Unscrupulous Laban thought he had made it impossible for Jacob to bring forth variegated animals by cleaning out the gene that produces variegated animals. But God had made it possible for Jacob to turn the tables on Laban effectively hollowing out his flock. Laban’s scheme failed because the omnipotent God did not allow faithful Jacob to be crushed. Within six years, God prospered Jacob at the expense of Laban who enslaved and exploited him for 20 years.
Jacob and his family were trapped in a cycle of poverty, an impossible situation with no recourse. In reality, they were serving as a generation of slaves imprisoned under Laban’s oppressive regime, and impossible to break free. Firstly, because Jacob owned no flock, and that allowed Laban to enslave them continually through subsistent wages. Secondly, given the make up of his family (wives and young children), Jacob was forced to depend on Laban for protection. Moreover, Laban might turn aggressive should their relationship breakdown. Thirdly, Jacob and his family faced possible annihilation from wrathful Esau should he return to Beersheba.
At every turn, Jacob saw no respite from his suffering. If he chooses safety, he and his future generations will remain as slaves. Should he venture out, his family will certainly be enslaved again possibly by another because he has no flock of his own. Just as Jacob was in the thick of utter gloom, God gave him a vision of variegated males when the flock were mating and said to him, “I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you made a vow to Me; now arise, leave this land, and return to the land of your birth.”
What God has done for Jacob, He will do likewise for those who made a vow to serve and love Jesus Christ. The blessing of Abraham, Isaac and of Jacob is reserved for those who persevere by living like Christ through the grace of the Spirit. The apostle Paul said,
Christ redeemed us… in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:14).
Having faith in Christ Jesus means living like Jesus and holding on to His convictions regardless of tribulations and temptations. And in due time, God will prosper you like He did for Jacob. Many churchgoers today did not obtain their breakthrough because their love is not directed at God or at others but at themselves. Their focus is to acquire God’s blessing but not to know God and to obey Him. I say this in absolute terms: Truly, those who have no interest in God’s word does not love God. Loving God and loving His word are synonymous because the Word was God (see John 1:1). Jesus explains to His disciples what it means to love Him,
“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. John 14:23-24
Having said, Jacob suffered unjustly for 14 years before experiencing divine intervention. No matter how protracted your situation may be, we must press on while believing God for the impossible. In due time, God will lift us to the next level of prosperity and with it greater challenges and glory.
Do you consume God’s word with ferocious hunger while believing that every word will come to pass in your life? A natural mind reads the bible but doubt every word questioning its context and its relevance to present times etc. A natural mind is not accustomed to hearing God’s voice but devices his own convictions which he claims is the wisdom of the Spirit. It is time to stop vacillating between the written word and the viewpoint of the “wise”. The word is written for the those who are “foolish” enough to believe it. Paul taught,
“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise… and again, “The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless.” 1 Corinthians 3:18,20.
The reason so many have lost interest in reading the bible is: they do not read it as it is meant to be read… with a mind of the Spirit, which is foolishness by the world’s standards. But the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God (1 Corinthians 3:19).
Dear Lord, I desire a mind that is set on the Spirit so that I may understand the secrets of the heavenlies. Transform my mind so that I may be wise in God and yet foolish to the world. Open my eyes to your capacity to love me, your willingness to bless me and how close I am to my breakthrough. Imbue me with courage to do what you have command me by your word. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.