The Right Thing, the Wrong Way

“The Lord said to Jacob, ‘Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.’ 4 So Jacob called Rachel and Leah into the field where his flock was and said to them, ‘I see that your father does not regard me with favor as he did before. But the God of my father has been with me… The angel of God said to me, “Jacob,” and I said, “Here I am!” And he said,.. “I have seen all that Laban is doing to you… Now arise, go out from this land and return to the land of your kindred…”’

“So Jacob arose and set his sons and his wives on camels. He drove away all his livestock, all his property that he had gained, the livestock in his possession that he had acquired in Paddan-aram, to go to the land of Canaan to his father Isaac… And Jacob tricked Laban, by not telling him that he intended to flee. He fled with all that he had and arose and crossed the Euphrates, and set his face toward the hill country of Gilead.

“When it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob had fled, he took his kinsmen and pursued him… Laban said to Jacob, ‘What have you done, that you have tricked me and driven away my daughters? Why did you flee secretly and trick me, and did not tell me, so that I might have sent you away with mirth and songs..? And why did you not permit me to kiss my sons and my daughters farewell? Now you have done foolishly. It is in my power to do you harm. But the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.” And now you have gone away because you longed greatly for your father’s house..?’ Jacob answered, ‘Because I was afraid, for I thought that you would take your daughters from me by force.'” Genesis 31:3-5,11-13,17-18,20-23a,26-31

Jacob the deceiver had been deceived enough, and was likely relieved and overjoyed to receive God’s call to return to his homeland. Without delay, he prepared his family, then his flocks and possessions. But then his right obedience took a wrong turn, swayed by that pestering flesh fear that ran in his blood. What if? (Genesis 25:26; 29:15-28; 30:28-36; 31:38-42)

It is one thing, and it is a good thing, to obey God’s clear command. But it is another thing altogether to obey it the right way, completely trusting His sufficiency for every step. How fickle the human heart, and weak the will, that jumps at the opportunity to follow God, but then trips over fear in finishing the determination God’s way. He is able to see us through completely, and provides a way of escape with every temptation. (Matthew 26:33-34,58,69-75; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Philippians 1:6)

Where have you and I made a good start on the track of God’s call, only to allow niggling voices of doubt to distract and deter us from continuing? Or where have we decided to follow, but forged our own easier, or supposed better way, that involves deception or neglect? Have we accommodated ‘little sins’ in otherwise righteous obedience, and failed to see how that dishonors the God we are serving?

Lord, keep me wholehearted and pure as I seek and follow You. May I be all in for Your way, for Your glory.

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