Let's Make a Deal

Christian sacrifice sometimes means turning down a great deal.

Genesis 30:25-36 (NKJV)

And it came to pass, when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own place and to my country. Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you know my service which I have done for you.”

And Laban said to him, “Please stay, if I have found favor in your eyes, for I have learned by experience that the LORD has blessed me for your sake.” Then he said, “Name me your wages, and I will give it.”

So Jacob said to him, “You know how I have served you and how your livestock has been with me. For what you had before I came was little, and it has increased to a great amount; the LORD has blessed you since my coming. And now, when shall I also provide for my own house?”

So he said, “What shall I give you?”

And Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep your flocks: Let me pass through all your flock today, removing from there all the speckled and spotted sheep, and all the brown ones among the lambs, and the spotted and speckled among the goats, and these shall be my wages. So my righteousness will answer for me in time to come, when subject of my wages comes before you: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and brown among the lambs, will be considered stolen if it is with me.”

And Laban said, “Oh that it were according to your word!” So he removed that day the male goats that were striped and spotted, all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had some white on it, and all the brown ones among the lambs, and gave them into the hand of his sons. Then he put three days' journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks.

The Hebrew idioms here are tricky and there are two views on the structure of this deal. The ESV takes the view that Laban deceived Jacob when he removed the spotted goats and black sheep. Others see that as part of the deal and Jacob only intended to claim those born later.

Jacob surely must notice when all the spotted and speckled animals disappear and he’s now tending all white flocks. Yet he doesn’t complain. Also, his terms were, “You shall not give me anything.” This all makes sense if Laban is supposed to keep all his existing sheep.

While wool is not the only use for many goat breeds, uniformly white wool is more valuable because it can be dyed any color. This is a great deal for Laban. He should jump at it.

Instead of jumping at great deals, Christ calls us to sacrifice for his glory. That’s why volunteering is such a big deal in Christianity.

Lift up your church’s volunteers today. Their service glorifies the Lord.

Ask God to strengthen and encourage them. Pray that He will bless (and direct) their projects.

The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:


Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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