It is an engaging study of human nature to watch the budding maturity of potential, which is too often plagued with disappointment as talent and skill go to bad seed and consequences of poor choices come to fruition. Therefore, it is refreshing when an individual’s potential sees reality; and, often, this change in essence becomes even greater than expected. Jacob is such a potential.
Simply because P. T. Barnum may have observed that “There’s a sucker born every minute,” it did not justify Jacob’s self-serving, sneaky and scheming relief of Esau’s birthright over a bowl of porridge (Genesis 25:29-34), nor did it justify the age-old blame-shifting excuse that it was his mother who cooked up the theft of his brother’s blessing (Genesis 27:9). However, when his less-than-laudable conniving caught up with him (Genesis 27:41), a potential grifter began to realize his real potential.
Uncle Laban, to whom he had fled, was the master and Jacob was the student, forced to swallow a massive dose of his own medicine (Genesis 31:36-42). From his wives to his earnings, Laban “schooled” Jacob to the point that he fled on the sly (Genesis 31:20) and it was out of the frying pan and into the fire, escaping the proven deceit of Laban (Genesis 31:2) only to confront his possible destruction by Esau. Hearing that his brother was coming with four hundred warriors, Jacob bowed to God and revealed his realized potential. “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two companies. Deliver me, I pray from the hand of my brother” (Genesis 32:10). There was no plotting or planning or pretense left in him; and Jacob (“Deceitful,” Genesis 27:36) became Israel (“Prince with God,” Genesis 32:28).
There is no power we possess that compares to the power of God. Where once, Jacob might have fallen back upon his own devices, there was no resolution equal to a total and unqualified reliance upon God, replete with gratitude. With God’s power, strength and guidance, we will be delivered and nothing will deal us defeat. Even if it takes twenty years of toil (Genesis 31:38), realize your potential.