In Genesis 30:25-43 the story of Jacob’s family continues, this time as it relates to his wealth and the increase of his flocks. Jacob takes the speckled or spotted sheep and goats and the dark-colored lambs. But then he engages in some activities that are devious at best, or in some commentators minds, sorcery-like. He places totems or fetishes in the watering bowls to look like the kind of offspring he wants. He even engages in selective breeding in order to break his uncle’s fortune and build up his own wealth.
Where is Jesus? There are a few options for where Jesus is in this story. Here are two:
- Jesus is in the picture of the branches which are striped. The mating animals looked upon a branch that was just like them in appearance and so they gave birth to new heards in that same image. So too, Jesus came in our image so that by looking at him, we too might see new life come forth from our loins. He took on our form, so that we might take on his.
- Jesus is the picture of Jacob being fruitful amidst the persecution. Every time his uncle sought to hold him back, he found a way around and ultimately took over as the power broker. This same truth is evident in our life, whenever Satan attacks or oppresses us, Jesus takes over and finds the way to keep up strong and growing. Jesus is our strength, not our own cleverness.
Nathan Pitchford at Reformation theology* has an excellent post on this very idea. In it he writes:
Jacob flourished in goods, and was given great flocks and many servants, in spite of the trickery of Laban. In the same way, Jacob’s true heirs are enriched with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3), and by the deceits of the enemy, they only grow richer: for when the world comes and persecutes them, and takes away their houses and lands, they grow rich in joy, and delight to follow in the steps of their Savior (Acts 5:41-42; Hebrews 10:34); and indeed, they are enabled thereby to fellowship in Jesus’ suffering, and so assure themselves of a share in his resurrection power (Philippians 3:10-11); so that, no matter how the enemy might change their stratagems in opposing us, we grow richer indeed by all their opposition.