Schemes and Superstitions Back to all sermons

Genesis

Date: April 7, 2019

Speaker: Sean Grossman

Series: Genesis

Scripture: Genesis 30:25–30:43

  • Genesis 30:25-43
  • Schemes and Superstitions

25 As soon as Rachel had borne Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own home and country. 26 Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, that I may go, for you know the service that I have given you.” 27 But Laban said to him, “If I have found favor in your sight, I have learned by divination that the LORD has blessed me because of you. 28 Name your wages, and I will give it.” 29 Jacob said to him, “You yourself know how I have served you, and how your livestock has fared with me. 30 For you had little before I came, and it has increased abundantly, and the LORD has blessed you wherever I turned. But now when shall I provide for my own household also?” 31 He said, “What shall I give you?”

(Genesis 30:25-31a)

31 He said, “What shall I give you?” Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this for me, I will again pasture your flock and keep it: 32 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 they shall be my wages. 33 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.” 34 Laban said, “Good! Let it be as you have said.” 35 But that day Laban removed the male goats that were striped and spotted, and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white on it, and every lamb that was black, and put them in the charge of his sons. 36 And he set a distance of three days' journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob pastured the rest of Laban's flock.

(Genesis 30:31-36)

37 Then Jacob took fresh sticks of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white of the sticks. 38 He set the sticks that he had peeled in front of the flocks in the troughs, that is, the watering places, where the flocks came to drink. And since they bred when they came to drink, 39 the flocks bred in front of the sticks and so the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted. 40 And Jacob separated the lambs and set the faces of the flocks toward the striped and all the black in the flock of Laban. He put his own droves apart and did not put them with Laban's flock. 41 Whenever the stronger of the flock were breeding, Jacob would lay the sticks in the troughs before the eyes of the flock, that they might breed among the sticks, 42 but for the feebler of the flock he would not lay them there. So the feebler would be Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's. 43 Thus the man increased greatly and had large flocks, female servants and male servants, and camels and donkeys.

(Genesis 30:37-43)

Main Point

  • These verses describe how Jacob’s wages began to increase
  • Laban convinces Jacob to stay longer
  • But also conned him it the process
  • Despite the deception Jacob still receives the wages owed and more

Application Points

  • Schemes and Superstitions
  • Right after Laban acknowledges God has blesses Jacob…he seeks to trick him
  • Laban is seeking the blessing which would cause Jacob to be an indentured servant
  • We find the scheming begin with Laban
  • He seeks to take the blessing himself
  • This is little different than Jacob with Isaac and Esau
  • Jacob wanted the blessing and would manipulate to get it…no different than Laban
  • We are not to be like Laban
  • We are not to live our lives by trying to win over the blessings God bestows on others

Application Points

  • Schemes and Superstitions (2)
  • Right after Laban acknowledges God has blesses Jacob…he seeks to trick him
  • Laban is seeking the blessing which would cause Jacob to be an indentured servant
  • We find the scheming begin with Laban
  • He seeks to take the blessing himself
  • This is little different than Jacob with Isaac and Esau
  • Jacob wanted the blessing and would manipulate to get it…no different than Laban
  • We are not to be like Laban
  • We are not to live our lives by trying to win over the blessings God bestows on others, or even living for the blessing

Application Points

  • Schemes and Superstitions (3)
  • Unfortunately there are many who believe this is what we should be attempting
  • While blessings are wonderful…in the end God Himself is the treasure
  • With Laban we find an individual who is not focusing on God
  • He is willing to take advantage of those who are blessed
  • It shows us the heart of Laban who believes that the blessings can be taken rather than received
  • We are the ones blessed, and as such we should use our blessings to further God’s glory

Application Points

  • Schemes and Superstitions (4)
  • But, Laban is not the only guilty party here
  • Jacob used superstition to gain the flocks was owed
  • Where are the Jacobs today?
  • I suspect we will find them in a number of places
  • Individuals who believe a particular Church program is the best program
  • What do you mean, pastor?
  • Well, I could see Jacob today…selling his number one bestselling book
  • “Spotted, Speckled, and Striped…10 ways to use sticks to get your most desired flock results!”
  • (Even works in Churches!)

Application Points

  • Schemes and Superstitions (5)
  • We find them because we see what’s around us
  • We’ll do whatever it takes to stop the bleeding
  • Even if it means using superstitious/questionable means
  • It’s like Martin Luther and Joseph’s pants
  • During the Reformation people believed these relics held power
  • People would travel far and wide to pray before them
  • They believed they had this power
  • Martin Luther encouraged us by reminding us we have Christ, we have the Scriptures

Application Points

  • Schemes and Superstitions (6)
  • Jacob seemed to believe he found his way to manipulate the situation
  • I’m sure somewhere, someone, tried this with their own flocks
  • But the truth is it isn’t in the scheme, it’s in the blessing of God
  • Focus on God
  • Superstitions have no power in this world, only Christ has power

“15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. (Colossians 1:15-23, ESV)

Application Points

  • Schemes and Superstitions (7)
  • In Christ the fullness of God dwells
  • He is above all things
  • He has accomplished it all
  • When we fall prey to superstitions we trade that which has power for that which does not
  • Interestingly, it is often those who peddle in superstitions who are scheming the most
  • Those who would take our blessings for themselves
  • We are left with three things
  • First: Do not be a schemer
  • Seek truth, encourage truth
  • Seek honest gain rather than sinful pursuits

Application Points

  • Schemes and Superstitions (8)
  • Second: Do not fall prey to schemers
  • Whether it is financial blessings, joy, happiness, grace, peace etc.
  • Instead, share your blessings with those who are in need
  • Brothers and sisters especially who might have a need
  • Comfort them in peace
  • Third: Do not fall to superstitions
  • Many who tell you they’ve found the answer and if you do what they say you’ll be fulfilled
  • If you want true fulfillment…read your Bible

Application Points

  • Schemes and Superstitions (9)
  • There is so much deception in our midst
  • So many who try to take advantage of us
  • Don’t follow them, follow Christ
  • Seek to glorify God with all of who you are, being aware of the pitfalls and temptations
  • Live for God and His glory, knowing that He is the Light of the world
  • Through His Truth we can know the way to live, the way to go, and the way to give glory to this God who so dearly loves us

Application Points

  • The Gospel of Christ
  • Origins
  • Fall
  • Redemption
  • Glorification