Genesis 31: 25-30: Divine protection.

“25 Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country of Gilead when Laban overtook him, and Laban and his relatives camped there too. 26 Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done? You’ve deceived me, and you’ve carried off my daughters like captives in war. 27 Why did you run off secretly and deceive me? Why didn’t you tell me, so I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of timbrelsand harps? 28 You didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters goodbye. You have done a foolish thing. 29 I have the power to harm you; but last night the God of your father said to me, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.’ 30 Now you have gone off because you longed to return to your father’s household. But why did you steal my gods?” NIV

I had a conversation with a friend recently, and we were talking about how God’s protection is real, but we are only protected from death for as long as God wants us to remain in the world. In this story, Jacob experienced the very real protection of God.

Now it has to be admitted that, although Jacob suffered much at the hands of his wily old fox of an uncle, he was not entirely innocent. He himself, as we’ve seen, could be duplicitous. It seems he tried to match Laban chess move for chess move. But when he ran away, he wasn’t thinking that his uncle would send him on his way with music and the popping of champagne corks (27)! It was more that he knew that this man had ‘’the power to harm’’ him (29). He was aware of the threat.

Nevertheless, God’s hand was heavily upon Laban to hold him back, and we can take comfort from this knowledge (29b).