June 19, 2015
Stirring the Nest
By Skip Heitzig
When things in life turn sour, people are apt to complain: "God, why would You allow this to happen? You can't be in this!" Don't be so sure.
Let's look at an episode in the life of Jacob. After he tricked his older brother into giving him the right of the firstborn, he fled to where his relative Laban lived. You probably know the story: Jacob fell in love with Laban's beautiful young daughter, Rachel. He then served Laban fourteen long years for both Leah and Rachel, though he really only loved Rachel. After Rachel bore their son Joseph, Jacob told Laban, "Send me away, that I may go to my own place and to my country" (Genesis 30: 25). Laban convinced him to stay for another six years, and that's where we find him in Genesis 31.
Ever since Jacob began living with Laban, there had been tension between the two, though they seemed to adjust to it. But in Genesis 31, we see that tension turn into friction: "And Jacob saw the countenance of Laban, and indeed it was not favorable toward him as before. Then the Lord said to Jacob, 'Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you'" (Genesis 31:2-3).
Notice how God prepared Jacob to move back to his home. The first thing He did was put the desire in Jacob's heart. After Joseph was born, Jacob had said, "I need to go back home. My heart is there. I need to be back in the covenant land of Abraham and Isaac." But he didn't go back. However, that desire never left him. He didn't act too quickly on it, but God put the desire deep in his heart.
This is an important principle in our lives. The first thing God does to move us from one experience to another or one place to another is put a desire deep within. David wrote in Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart." When you delight yourself in the Lord, the desires you have are the desires God plants within your heart. However, those desires need to be confirmed; you don't want to impulsively act on every desire you have.
For Jacob, the nest was getting stirred up, so he thought, It's time to get out of here. What I feel in my heart is now being confirmed by the circumstances the Lord has placed around me. The friction between him and Laban caused Jacob to seek a new direction. Here's the principle: the Lord stirs things up by circumstances. They may not be favorable, but it could be that the Lord is doing something to move you along.
"Then the Lord said to Jacob, 'Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you'" (Genesis 31:3). The word of the Lord came to Jacob and confirmed what he felt in his heart and what the circumstances were telling him. When life turns sour, God may have some sweet blessings right around the corner. Don't complain. Don't moan. Just say, "What opportunities might God have in store if I trust Him and move forward?"
After this, Jacob talked to his wives, and they confirmed what he heard from God and felt in his heart (see Genesis 31:14-16). After God puts something in your heart, after the circumstances line up, and after you hear the voice of God through His Word, seek confirmation from God's family. The Bible says, "In the multitude of counselors there is safety" (Proverbs 11:14). Get counsel from the body of Christ. Run it by somebody who has maturity and insight.
Eventually, the Lord did bring Jacob back to the land of his fathers. So here's food for thought: maybe you've been praying that God would do something different and great and move powerfully in your life, yet something unfavorable or unpleasant has happened. Have you ever thought that this could be part of the answer to that prayer? That God is going to put something in your heart (or perhaps already has), that the circumstances are lining up with that desire, and that now God will speak through His Word and confirm it with His people? I encourage you to let God move. Let Him stir the nest.
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