Then Jacob took fresh rods of poplar and almond and plane, and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white of the rods. He set the rods 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, the flocks bred in front of the rods, and so the flocks produced young that were striped, speckled, and spotted. Jacob separated the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the striped and the completely black animals in the flock of Laban; and he put his own droves apart, and did not put them with Laban’s flock. Whenever the stronger of the flock were breeding, Jacob laid the rods in the troughs before the eyes of the flock, that they might breed among the rods, but for the feebler of the flock he did not lay them there; so the feebler were Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s. Thus the man grew exceedingly rich, and had large flocks, and male and female slaves, and camels and donkeys.
The Whole Armor of God
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.
Jacob may have been the original MacGyver. He took his impossible situation, the beginning of a long life dealing with the deception of others, and beat them at their own game. He did not only use intelligence, he used his persistence and willingness to do right even if he was not being treated fairly.
Ill treatment does not normally inspire us to perseverance and creativity. Usually we feel the opposite. We focus in all of our energy and effort upon that singular injustice – ignoring everything else around it. That’s our natural response, but natural responses lead to natural consequences… some of which we do not enjoy.
We need a supernatural response to injustice, and that’s exactly what Paul encourages us to do in Ephesians. The reason that we need the whole armor of God is because, our natural response is, once we get hurt, to take off all our armor and put it around the wound. That makes no sense in the battlefield. It’s a good way to get killed. Yet, think about it, the last time someone hurt your feelings, did you think to yourself I had better be sure to spend some extra time reading my bible this week, so that I don’t fall out of habit? No, we think about either 1) How we are going to get back at that person, or 2) How much alcohol or ice cream (pick your poison) it will take for us to get over our hurt feelings.
Only a person who is wearing the whole armor of God can really respond with integrity and creativity. To make lemonade out of lemons, you need a little bit of sugar, and keeping spiritually healthy all around helps you maintain a small but consistent supply of sugar on hand for just those situations.
What ‘lemons’ have come your way lately?
Where does your steady supply of sugar come from?