God ‘WILL’ protect US from our ENEMY: And Laban was told on the third day that Jacob had fled. Then he took his brethren with him and pursued him for seven days' journey, and he overtook him in the mountains of Gilead. But God had come to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said to him, "Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad." (Gen 31:22-24)
Jacob had served his uncle and father-in-law Laban now for twenty long years out of which he served fourteen years for his beloved wife Rachel and six years for his flock (31:41a). During this period, Laban had deceived Jacob and cheated him on his wages ten times (31:7, 41b). Moreover, Jacob had personally borne all the losses of the flock, and had worked day and night faithfully (31:38-40). After all these years of faithful service, now Laban’s sons had started accusing Jacob of acquiring all his wealth by cheating Laban (31:1). Jacob also saw that Laban did not favor him as before, and heard God telling him that it was time to return to his father’s home where he belonged.
Jacob knew full well that Laban would not normally let him take his daughters and his grand children and leave his home for good. So, while Laban was away shearing his sheep, Jacob secretly ran away with his wives, children and all his possessions. When Laban came to know about this after three days, he took his brothers and pursued after Jacob for seven days intending to kill him for treachery.
However, God intervened in this matter and warned Laban through a dream in the night that he should not even speak good or bad to Jacob, let alone injure or kill him (31:24, 29). Neither good nor bad is an idiomatic expression meaning ‘not to speak any threats’. Jacob was defenseless against Laban, and he escaped with his life only through God’s protection over him. While expounding this passage, Kidner tells that “it was only by divine prospering and protection that Jacob brought anything, even his life, back from exile”. In fact, we can see that God had protected Jacob throughout the entire twenty years of his stay in Laban’s home, and did not allow Laban to hurt Jacob at any time (31:7b).
God sovereignly protected Jacob as He had protected Abraham (12:17; 20:3) and Isaac (26:8). This is the promise that God had made to Jacob regarding his protection: But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior" (Isaiah 43:1-3).
As His children, God will protect us as well from all our enemies. We have a real enemy Satan, who is always intending to do us harm “like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8b). Let us rely on God’s protection all the days of our lives!