“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.”
After faithfully serving Laban for twenty years, Jacob decided it was time to return to Canaan. As he prepared to depart, Jacob and Laban met together to discuss his future wages. They determined that all the speckled and spotted sheep would belong to Jacob and the rest would remain with Laban. Later, in Genesis 31, we find this idea was given to Jacob in a dream where the Angel of the Lord appeared to him. We find with Jacob, a vivid illustration of the promises of God being pursued in the arm of the flesh.
Rather than trusting that God would provide whatever number of sheep He wanted him to have, Jacob went about to organize one of the most bizarre schemes in Scripture. He decided to put a backdrop of Poplar, Almond and Chestnut trees before the flocks, thinking that would make them conceive spotted lambs. I am no geneticist, but I highly doubt that what a pregnant sheep looks at while eating will determine the hair color of her offspring. This seems to me, to be another of Jacob’s carnal attempts to acquire the promises of God. He had done it before when he cheated his brother out of his blessing and birthright, instead of simply waiting on God to fulfill His promises. And now he seems to be doing it again.
Oh, what wasted time and energy is spent trying to accomplish, in the arm of the flesh, what should simply be received by faith. How often the child of God strives so intently to do, what God simply wants to give. Instead of straining in our own energies, why not simply trust in, and pray through, the promises of God. This is a truth that is particularly relevant for those serving in the ministry. One of the great promises that must serve as part of the foundation for any minister, is that Jesus said He would build His church. All our energies should be spent seeking to do what He tells us to do, rather than running about trying to build a church for God.