Carriers of the Light
Torah Portion: Vayetze (History) B’resheet/Genesis 28:10-32:3
Haftorah Reading: Hosea 11:7-13:5
Today we look at a Torah portion that covers a long span of the life of Jacob. It begins when he is leaving the land of Israel and continues until twenty years later when he is returning home from Haran. He left with only the clothes on his back and returned a wealthy man with many cattle, sheep,11 sons and one daughter. Our Torah portion reveals many details of the 20 years he was in exile. He left Israel after a prophetic dream in which G-d promised to protect him and bring him back home to the land. (Genesis 28:13)
I want us to look at his struggles and victories during his time in exile. I want us to consider what scripture tells us about these years with his father-in-law Laban, focusing on the question I sent you this week. My question was concerning Genesis 30:30. “For what you had before I came was little, and it has increased to a great amount; the L-rd has blessed you since my coming.” But in Hebrew instead of since my coming, a better translation would be because of my feet. In this verse Jacob is speaking to his father-in-law. What do you think that verse is saying? And what is the message to us as believers today? To give you a hint similar thoughts are found in the Messianic Scriptures in I Corinthians 7:14, II Corinthians 2:14 and Galatians 2:20.
We need to consider the background of this verse before we can appreciate this conversation. Jacob had been working for Laban for at least 14 years without pay in exchange for marrying Laban’s two daughters. Rachel had just given birth to Joseph and Jacob was wanting to return to Israel. Of course Laban did not want to lose Jacob’s services. In Genesis 30:27 Laban concedes he has been blessed by G-d on Jacob’s account. So he offered to pay Jacob whatever it took to keep him in Haran. Jacob told Laban he knew the blessings had come from G-d. Jacob used a Hebrew word to express this outpouring of blessing. This word was peretz. We have heard this word before. Does anyone remember this word being used in scripture? This was the name of one of Tamar’s sons. The story is found in Genesis 38:27-30. He burst forth. Here Jacob used the same word to describe how G-d had blessed Laban while he was working for him. This is a strong word meaning something like a flood.
The next word vital to our understanding is the last word in the verse. A direct translation would be, my foot. Jacob was telling Laban that his presence brought these blessings. Who he was was why G-d blessed Laban. Jacob was saying G-d blessed you because I am here. (My feet are here.) We see a principle here that should speak to all of us. Our presence in any situation should be a source of blessing. If there is strife we, by being available, can be a voice of calm. Where there is despair we can bring hope. Where there is need, we by being available, can bring help. Where there are lies we can bring truth. Where there is darkness we can bring light.
We see this promise from the beginning. In Genesis 12:3 G-d tells Avraham, “in you all nations will be blessed.” We see this over and over in scripture. A few examples being Daniel 6:3 where we read, “Daniel became distinguished above all the other presidents and satraps because an excellent spirit was in him.”
When we come to the Messianic scriptures we see the same principle at work. Shaul said in Gal. 2:20 we carry the Messiah who lives in us. Each of us have that same quality, that same spirit living in us and G-d uses this truth in our lives. A good example might be a man or woman who puts on a fragrance when they bath. Where they go that fragrance goes with them and people notice it. Our very presence should bring the aroma of the Messiah into our conversations and actions. Simply by being, we carry Him with us in our conversation, our actions. This shows who we are.
Remember this important truth as you interact with the world. Everywhere we go should be changed. For like Jacob, just by our feet (our presence) we can change the situation around us.