“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the LORD upholds him with His hand” (Psalms 37:23-24)
After serving his father-in-law for 20 years, Jacob has now reached a place of personal desperation. His life was going nowhere. Even though Jacob had faithfully served Laban by shepherding his flock spending sleepless nights and through rough weather – drought during day and frost during night – bearing all the loss on his own account (Gen. 31:38-40), Laban and his sons were antagonistic towards Jacob. In fact they were now accusing Jacob of becoming rich at Laban’s expense (Gen. 31:1-2) even though it was God who had made Jacob rich (Gen. 31:9). Jacob had now reached a complete life cycle having served Laban twenty years (fourteen years for Rachel and six years for the flock) during which time Laban had changed Jacob’s wages ten times (Gen. 31:41). God directed Jacob’s steps as He told him that it was time now to relocate back to the land of his fathers and his family (Gen. 31:3). We need to understand that working for an employer will have limits, but it is God alone who will show us “the path of life” (Psalms 16:11a) and lead us to our final destination.
Another lesson to learn through this passage - when we make a major change in our life, we should definitely get our family (spouse, children, etc) on board with our plans just as Jacob confirmed his plans to relocate only after consulting with his two wives Rachel and Leah (Gen. 31:4-16). Even though it was obvious that the living conditions were untenable for Jacob continue serving Laban, and even after getting the directive from God to return, Jacob displayed consultative leadership skills by discussing his situation with his family. As we make a critical move in our life, let us remember the words of Proverbs 4:25-26: “Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established”.