‘Ascribe greatness to our God, the Rock’
At this point in Jacob’s story, animosity between his family and Laban’s has developed, owing to differing perception of how Jacob has acquired his prosperity. The second half of chapter 30 explains in more detail how Jacob and Laban agreed on who should own which animals, and how Jacob, having journeyed three days distance from Laban, bred the strongest, varicolored flocks for himself. Having no modern knowledge of genetic breeding. Jacob now describes it to his wives as something God has brought about because of Laban’s mistreatment of him, whereas his brothers-in-law seem to be implying that it was theft. Alongside this is a direct command from God to return home, and his wives, who think that their father’s actions have alienated them, are in agreement and, in effect, are trusting themselves to Jacob’s God.
Leaving genetics aside, it seems that Jacob’s intentions, having already made Laban more prosperous, were to make himself and his family wealthy at Laban’s expense– and he was successful in doing so. There’s no mention of God in the initial spotted and speckled mating process until it’s apparent that relationships have broken down–and Jacob then ascribes his success to God rather than his own cleverness. He also tells Leah and Rachel of the reminder God gave him of his actions at Bethel–perhaps to justify their departure; but whatever the reason they are happy to go.
When things go well, things that we’ve committed to God, whether of a mundane, day-to-day nature or of more significance, it’s OK to be appropriately proud of what God accomplishes through us. What’s not right is to do things to suit ourselves , or to benefit ourselves, and then to use God to justify our choice of actions or our behavior. What Jacob was actually doing here we don’t know.
Some Christians are apt to spirituals everything in life–emphasizing the transcendent over the incarnate. What do you think about this way of viewing things?