Providence: “the foreseeing care and guidance of God over the creatures of the earth; God, omnisciently directing the universe and affairs of humankind with wise benevolence; a manifestation of divine care or direction.”
Distrust and deception underscore much of the action in Genesis 31. Jacob’s brothers-in-law are suspicious of him, (31:1).
His father-in-law mistreats him; though serving him for twenty years, Jacob is swindled ten times, (31:4-7), and Jacob once again resorts to his default mode of deception. “And Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him that he was fleeing,” (31:20).
Jacob, convinced he was trapped, responds out of fear. “Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done by deceiving me and carrying away my daughters like captives of the sword? 27 Why did you flee secretly and deceive me,…’ 31 Then Jacob replied to Laban, ‘Because I was afraid, for I thought that you would take your daughters from me by force,’” (31:26-27, 31).
And Rachel steals her father’s idols, perhaps convinced if she take matters into her own hands, all will go well, (31:19).
Our circumstances can often leave us fearful and wondering if God is even there. All too often we find ourselves feeling trapped and tempted to take control by whatever means. But His Providence is Perfect! His guidance and direction are ever-present and ever-benevolent.
Consider His Providence
His Providence was revealed through Jacob’s circumstances, both the good and the bad.
So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah… 5 and said to them, “I see your father’s attitude, that it is not friendly toward me as formerly, but the God of my father has been with me. 6 You know that I have served your father with all my strength. 7 Yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times; however, God did not allow him to hurt me,’” (31:4-7).
His Providence was revealed through His Word, with commands and promises.
Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you… for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you made a vow to Me; now arise, leave this land, and return to the land of your birth,” (31:3, 12-13).
How are we to respond to His Providence?
No matter the circumstances we find ourselves in, let us trust His Providence, in the good times, and the bad. He is faithful and ever with us, providing His guidance and care.
- In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider—God has made the one as well as the other… (Ecclesiastes 7:14).
- but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Corinthians 15:57).
- Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; (Psalm 23:4).
Let us not allow our circumstances, whether good or bad, to direct our lives, rather let us intentionally seek His direction from His Word as we trust His Providence.
- Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path, (Psalm 119:105).
- “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you,” (Psalm 32:8).
- Make me know Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. 5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, (Psalm 25:4-5).
Let us grow in our love for Him and in our resolve to obey His commands with gratitude and awareness of His Providence
- “You shall therefore love the Lord your God, and always keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances, and His commandments,” (Deuteronomy 11:1).
- “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments,” (John 14:15).
Let us trust His Providence towards us, refuse to take matters into our own hands, and leave the results, outcomes and judgments to Him.
- “If the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had not been for me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and the toil of my hands, so He rendered judgment last night,” (Genesis 31:42).
- What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? (Romans 8:31).
- For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations, (Psalm 100:5).