For the natural man, his life is governed by the desire for recognition and/or the relationship with women (sex) and/or worldly goods. Anyone who is not trapped by any of these three desires is indeed a free man. The converted but unbroken man may suffer in one, two or all three of the above. The crisis of brokenness and e ensuing process of brokenness produce a man who is totally free from these things.
Jacob was not yet broken. We have seen that he had problems in the realm of sex. We shall now see that he had problems in the realm of worldly goods. He also had problems in the realm of the desire for recognition; for that is why he so desperately wanted the birthright. He wanted to be the first. He wanted to be greater than his brother. He wanted to be served. He wanted to command.
If he had yielded to the Lord at his conversion and allowed the divine breaking to take place, all these three areas in his life would have been corrected at once. Unfortunately, he was too full of himself to yield and, therefore, he had to go through the painful path that he trod.
Working For Laban
If Jacob had been discerning, he would have discovered that Laban was not a man to be trusted. Although he could manipulate things here and there, although he could plan and scheme, he could not discern. It is as if there was some definite blindness in him. When he wanted to leave Laban and return to his people, Laban persuaded him to stay and work for him for pay. Laban asked,
“What shall I give you?” Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything; if you will do this for me, I will again feed your flock and keep it: let me pass through all your flock today, removing from it every speckled and spotted sheep and every black lamb, and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and such shall be my wages.
So my honesty will answer for me later, when you come to look into my wages with you. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and black among the lambs, if found with me, shall be counted stolen” (Genesis 30:31-33).
If Jacob had been a consecrated man, he could have said to Laban, “I am not my own. I belong to the Lord. He is Lord of all that I have. Let me consult Him and see what He would have me ask as a salary.” But Jacob was not consecrated. If he had been a broken man, he would have said to himself, “I am dealing with a man whose integrity is questionable. Let me be careful. There may be a trap in his question. I must ask the Lord.” Then he would have gone before the Lord and said to Him, “Lord, Laban has asked me to name my wages. I do not know if there is something hidden in his mind. Lord, grant that I know the thoughts of his heart.
Now, Lord, I do not know what to ask as my wages. You know me, Lord. You know the circumstances of my life. You know what I should ask as my wages. You know me, Lord. You know the circumstances of my life. You know the future. I do not want to cheat my uncle. I do not want him to cheat me. Lord, come into this matter. Show me what I am to ask.” The Lord would have shown him the intentions of Laban and counselled him.
Jacob, however, was not broken. He felt able to deal with Laban on his own. I can imagine that he looked at Laban’s flock and saw some excellent spotted and speckled goats and some speckled and spotted sheep and black lambs that were very good. I can imagine that he ran his eyes through the entire flock and counted their number and found that there were quite many. He then made up his mind that he would ask for those. He also said to himself, “The division between what is mine and what is Laban’s will be so obvious that there will be no confusion even if the vast majority turn out to be mine.” After that possible calculation, he spoke out.
It could be that Laban looked around and found that his son-in-law intended to get too much out of him. He possibly said to himself, “I do not want to appear like a selfish man who will quarrel with a son-in-law over property. He wants to get the better of me. I will let him appear as the winner and then I will deal with him secretly.” He then agreed, “Good! Let it be as you have said” (Genesis 30:34). Jacob went away feeling good about the deal he had made.
“But that day Laban removed the he-goats that were striped, and spotted and all the she-goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white on it, and every lamb that was black, and put them in charge of his sons; and he set a distance of three days’ journey between himself and Jacob; and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flock” (Genesis 30:35-36).
Jacob was thus cheated. The cheat was cheated. The Lord Jesus said, “And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them” (Luke 6:31). (It was being done to Jacob as he had done to Esau.) God allowed Jacob to meet and stay with Laban, so that he might see the gravity of his sin. Unfortunately, Jacob was very strong. He could not be stopped. He continued to take things into his hands.
God’s Care for The Converted But Unbroken
It is foolish to think that God does not bless those who are converted but are unbroken. If God cares for the unconverted, how much more will He care for His children even though they have not yet come to the end of themselves! God showed wonderful grace and love to Jacob. He took care of him. He appeared to him in a dream. The angel of the Lord said to him,
“Lift up your eyes and see, all the goats that leap upon the flock are striped, spotted and mottled” (Genesis 31:10).
God intended to bless Jacob. Because God intended to bless Jacob with much flock, it is obvious that God had in mind a way of doing it that would be consistent with His character, a way that would be done without any underhanded acts. God cannot lie. He cannot send anyone to lie on His behalf.
If Jacob had been a broken man, he would have prayed asking the Lord to do as he had shown him in the dream. But Jacob was not a broken man. He knew what God intended to do, but he feared that God might fail or He might change His mind and he would lose. He, therefore, decided to take things into his hands. Unbroken people always take things into their hands. Rebekah knew that the elder son was to serve the younger, but she was not prepared to let the Lord bring it to pass. She rushed on and used the way of sin to bring to pass that which the Lord had shown her would happen. She was so confident that she did not bother to consult the Lord about how things would happen. She was not like Mary who, when told that she a virgin would give birth to a child, asked,
“How shall this be, since I have no husband?” (Luke 1:34)
and thus gave the Lord the opportunity of explaining to her how things would come about. Jacob was very much like his mother. He saw what God intended to do and he decided to do it for God. The
“Then Jacob took fresh rods of poplar and almond and plane, and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white of the rods. He set the rods which he had peeled in front of the flocks in the runnels, that is, the watering troughs, where the flocks came to drink. And since they bred when they came to drink, the flocks bred in front of the rods and so the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted. And Jacob separated the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks towards the striped and all the black in the flock of Laban; and he put his own droves apart, and did not put them with Laban’s flock. Whenever the stronger of the flock were breeding Jacob laid the rods in the runnels before the eyes of the flock, that they might breed among the rods, but for the feebler of the flock he did not lay them there; so the feebler were Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s. Thus the man grew exceedingly rich, and had large flocks, maidservants and menservants, and camels and asses” (Genesis 30:37-43).