Devotional

“When doubts filled my mind,  your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” – Psalms 94:19.

It is always an interesting, if sometimes frustrating experience when interacting with a control freak. But controlling people often find themselves being controlled. A perfect example of that is the story of Laban. The relationship between Jacob and Laban is a fairly lengthy relationship that takes up more than four chapters of Genesis (29 – 32). This is an unusual relationship where Laban is in control and Jacob is along for the ride. But in the end, the controller gets controlled.

Jacob is looking for a wife. He immediately falls in love with Rachel which establishes his connection to Laban. Because Jacob is poor, he pledges seven years of labor to Laban to secure Rachel’s hand in marriage. (Genesis 29:16-20)  After the seven years, Jacob asks the agreement to be fulfilled. But Laban deceives Jacob by giving him Leah instead. Before Jacob realizes what has happened, he is married to Leah but still loves Rachel. So, he commits another seven years of work for Laban in order to marry Rachel, as well. (Genesis 29:23-27)

Jacob fulfills his second 7-year commitment to Laban and tries to leave. However, Laban is reluctant to let him leave because Jacob has made him successful. He asks Jacob to stay. Jacob agrees as long as he is paid a wage, and says he will accept only the spotted, speckled and striped livestock in payment. (Genesis 30:31-33) Laban thinks Jacob negotiated a poor deal and readily agrees. 

But God is in control and God blesses Jacob. The number of livestock set aside for Jacob far outweighs the number going to Laban through God’s blessing. (Genesis 31:12) Laban’s son became angry so through a dream, God tells Jacob to flee with his household. (Genesis 31:13) Jacob does as he is told and heads back to his land in Canaan. Laban catches wind that Jacob’s household has left his land and pursues them. But he quickly realizes that he cannot control Jacob any longer. Clearly, the Lord is with Jacob and Laban cannot control or fight that. In the end, the controller got controlled. 

God is in control of everything that happens in the universe. He is in control of everything that happens in your life no matter how hard you try to control everything. We need to play a role, but all our efforts at control do not loosen God’s grip on the direction of your life at all. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you try to control and what do you let God control?
  2. What is your first step and next step in surrendering to God rather than trying to control everything by our selves?