“The Lord is my helper.”
JACOB reached the house of Laban, and there married his two wives, Leah and Rachel. After toiling hard for Laban for years, he felt a longing to see his father’s face again. Besides, he felt that Laban had treated him badly, and that it was time to separate and become his own master. He therefore stole away with his family and his goods, but was hotly pursued by Laban, who evidently intended him no good. The night before Laban overtook Jacob the Lord visited him in a dream, and warned him against doing Jacob any violence, or attempting to entice him back to Haran. This was a very gracious interposition, and the patriarch had abundant cause to bless the Lord for it. Laban was thus providentially restrained from doing mischief. However, he accused Jacob of having stolen his images: Jacob did not know that Rachel had concealed them, and when Laban could not find them, the patriarch upbraided him for bringing such a groundless charge against him.
36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42 And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me? Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt us both. 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. 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. Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes. 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. Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.
Laban was a great boaster, but a miserable churl. He claimed credit for leaving Jacob unharmed, but the patriarch saw through his pretences, and knew that he had only been harmless because the Lord had laid an embargo upon him.
43 ¶ And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattle are my cattle, and all that thou seest is mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children which they have born?
44 Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee. (He made a merit of necessity, and so, by the good hand of the Lord, what might have been a fearful slaughter ended in a friendly compact. The Lord can make the wrath of men to praise him, and restrain it when he pleases. This event reminds us of one of David’s grateful songs.)
IF it had not been the Lord who was on our side, now may Israel say:
2 If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us:
3 Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us:
4 Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul:
5 Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.
6 Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.
7 Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
In all times of danger from men our wisest course is to fly to the Lord our helper. He has ways and means for delivering us which we know not of. He can either turn our enemies into friends, or else so check all their efforts that they shall do us no real injury. Blessed are those men whose trust in the Lord never wavers.
Israel, a name divinely blest,
May rise secure, securely rest;
Thy holy Guardian’s wakeful eyes
Admit no slumber, nor surprise.
Should earth and hell with malice burn,
Still thou shalt go, and still return,
Safe in the Lord; his heavenly care
Defends thy life from every snare.
C. H. Spurgeon, The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1964), 45.