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Return To Thy Father
By Brian Price 8/4/2013



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"1 And he heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory.
2 And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.
3 And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.
4 And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock,
5 And said unto them, I see your father's countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me.
6 And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. 7 And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me.
8 If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked.
9 Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.
10 And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled.
11 And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I.
12 And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee.
13 I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.
14 And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house?
15 Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money.
16 For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children's: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do." - Genesis 31:1-16
Here we read in Genesis chapter 31 about Jacob's return from his father-in-law, Laban. Jacob had served Laban for 20 years, and now we see that God has told Jacob to return to his father's house. Verse 3 says, "And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee."

Although I am sure that Jacob had no idea of his father's current state of health, or if he was even alive, he still trusted God's word and by faith gathered his family together and returned to his father's house. We also see that Jacob's desire at the time of God's call was to leave Laban. He no longer saw Laban as the warm, welcoming uncle he first came to know when he originally came to Padanaram. Back then, his father-in-law gladly received Jacob and told him to serve him for almost any wage that he desired. But now, things have changed.

Laban now is concerned that his son-in-law has taken away his entire estate. No longer is Laban the rich uncle because God had blessed Jacob to the point that nearly all of the cattle and all of the sheep became his. Verse 16 says, "For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children's: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do."

Verse 16 is also very important, because notice that Rachel told Jacob, "...whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do." She sounds very much like the future mother of the Saviour, when she said to the servants at the marriage in Cana of Galilee, "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it."

Now, there is a very good lesson to be learned here in Genesis chapter 31. Because we see here that although Jacob had been gone for a very long time, it was time for him to return to his father. You see, there are people in this world who likewise have taken a very long journey away from home. They have left their Father behind, and now it is time to return. I'm not talking about their earthly father. I'm talking about their heavenly Father. They have taken their bag of money, and have departed on a journey to live a life of sin in a far country. 20, 30, or perhaps even 40 years have passed since they last stepped foot in a church. God only knows how long its been since they have read their Bible, or even prayed. The journey has been long, and it has been hard.

If you read further in this story of Jacob, you'll see what kind of trials and hardships Jacob went through while he was at Laban's house all these years. He said in verses 38 through 41,

"38 This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten.
39 That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night.
40 Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes.
41 Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times."

You see Jacob labored long and hard for his father-in-law Laban. He said in the day, the drought consumed him, and in the night, the frost caused his sleep to depart from him.

Sin will do that to a person. It is a cruel master. It will cause you torment and sorrow. In the day time, it consumes you with its heat, and in the night, it keeps you from sleep.

Jesus said no man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Either you are going to serve sin, or you are going to serve God. You cannot serve both.

In this story, Jacob had a choice. Either stay and serve Laban, or obey God and return. And this is just a picture of what every man battles in his life. The greatest battle you will face is your battle with God. Are you going to obey God? There is really no other choice. If you stay, you are going to die. If you obey God, you are going to live.

It's sad to think that there are people out there who for one reason or another refuse the way of life, and instead choose to die.

In the parable of the prodigal son, he had only two choices. Either he could stay feeding swine and perish with hunger or return to his father and have bread enough to live.

The Bible says in Luke chapter 15,

"14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
20 And he arose, and came to his father."
You see, the prodigal son knew that if he didn't do something fast, he was going to die from starvation. He knew that there was no one else that could help him. There was a mighty famine in the land, and so the most likely scenario is that everyone around him was starving. How could they feed him? They were starving from lack of food themselves.

But then notice his life saving choice. The Bible says, "And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father."

He realized that although he had shamed his father by living a life of sin, yet he knew that he would be able to return to his father if he were to apologize. And this is the perfect picture of the repentant sinner.

Many years go by before people make the decision to repent. And sometimes, people allow their entire lives to go by and never repent. What a sad case that is. How can someone go their entire life living in sin, and then when they have nothing left, when all has been spent, they still choose to live in a pigpen as opposed to returning to their Father. How can someone do that?

But God loves each of us. And he wants to see us return to him. You have lived long enough out there in this world trying to do it all on your own. And you can't do it on your own. You need help. It's time to return to thy Father.

"6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him RETURN unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." - Isaiah 55:6-7

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