Before we look at this section, it is important to see the earlier verses for contextual. From Genesis 30:25 we see that Jacob wants to leave Laban`s service and return to his homeland. But recognizing that God blessed him because of Jacob`s presence, Laban asks Jacob to stay and continue to lead his flocks – and Laban promises to have Jacob baptized his reward. Jacob proposes a solution in which he would stay and care for Laban`s flocks for an apparently meagre sum, and an impossible solution to deceive. 33 But my honesty will answer me later, when you are above my salary. Anyone who is not speckled and spotted among the goats and black among the lambs when found in my house will be considered stolen. While what Jacob understood was partly true, he did not see enough in this vision. God had not congratulated him for his attempts to manipulate things against Laban for his own benefit. In fact, the prosperity he experienced had nothing to do with his ardent efforts. Not all his pole and exegling and segregation were winners. A close look at the words that describe the dream will clearly show this. Note how God drew Jacob`s attention to the fact that the males that mated were scratched, speckled and mottled (verse 10, 12). Previously, we claimed that all of Jacob`s efforts were based on an erroneous premise – that a visual impression during conception would affect the born animal. In Jacob`s vision of God, there were no peeled stems, no separate herds, but only striped, speckled and spotted male goats.
What lesson did God teach Jacob, or at least us? 19 When Laban went away to make his sheep, Rachel stole her father`s gods. (BQ) 20 In addition, Jacob (BR) Laban deceived the Aramaic (BS) by not telling him that he had fled. (BT) 21 He fled with all he had, crossed the Euphrates (BV) and set off for the hills of Gilead. (BW) After all, many of us, like Jacob, fail in our professional lives to “decorate God`s teaching” (Tite 2:10). We make an agreement with our employer, but we come to the conclusion that he is not as interested in our future as we are. We start looking for our own interests at the expense of our boss. We begin to build our own small empires, just as Jacob distinguishes his flock from the Labans. We are starting to spend a huge part of our time figuring out how to get more of what is part of the business. Instead of working hard and leaving our well-being in God`s hands, we take matters into our own hands.
While, like Jacob, we can stay in the letter of the law, we move forward at the expense of someone else.