Great Plains Daily Devotional for 7/27/2021

Today please be in prayer for

Hardtner UMC
Kiowa UMC
Wichita West District
Maize UMC
Wichita West District
Argonia UMC
Mayfield Federated Church
Wichita West District
Medicine Lodge UMC
Wichita West District

Today's Lectionary Text

Genesis 30:37-43

Then Jacob took new branches from poplar, almond, and plane trees; and he peeled white stripes on them, exposing the branches’ white color. He set the branches that he had peeled near the watering troughs so that they were in front of the flock when they drank, because they often mated when they came to drink. When the flock mated in front of the branches, they gave birth to striped, speckled, and spotted young. Jacob sorted out the lambs, turning the flock to face the striped and black ones in Laban’s flock but keeping his flock separate, setting them apart from Laban’s flock. Whenever the strongest of the flock mated, Jacob put the branches in front of them near the watering troughs so that they mated near the branches. But he didn’t put branches up for the weakest of the flock. So the weakest became Laban’s and the strongest Jacob’s. The man Jacob became very, very rich. He owned large flocks, female and male servants, camels, and donkeys.

Today's Devotional

Yesterday we compared the devious plan by Laban to cheat Jacob out of an agreed-upon payment with the schemes once proffered by the fictional character JR Ewing on the TV show “Dallas.” To catch you up, Jacob is about to leave with his wives and 11 sons (plus at least one daughter), and he asks for payment. Laban agrees to give Jacob all of the sheep, lambs and goats with defects, but then he tries to rig the herds so Jacob doesn’t get all that is due to him.

Fans of the “Dallas” TV show no doubt recall how the conniving JR did similar things all the time. But every now and then, either his brother Bobby or one of his competitors would turn the tables on JR. It was in those moments that millions of people in the TV audience would smile or laugh that JR had received his comeuppance. And Larry Hagman, who played JR, made some of the best faces to show when he realized he had been had.

I wonder what Laban’s face looked like once he realized Jacob finally had turned the tables on him. Laban had removed the spotted and striped male goats, the female goats with speckles and spots, as well as all of the black lambs. There is little doubt that Jacob noticed. After all, he had tended these animals for years. He no doubt noticed the smaller-than-anticipated numbers.

But Jacob benefits from a little bit of science and a blessing from God. He breeds the fewer animals Laban had given him, defects and all. And Jacob made note of when the stronger of the animals bred. He ends up with more animals with spots and stripes, animals that Laban can’t dispute now belong to Jacob. In other words, Jacob controlled what he could by practicing some ancient animal husbandry. But he also needed a little help from God to rectify this situation. We should recognize that we are no different.

Got grants us wisdom and knowledge. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, referred to this as reason. In other words, let’s use the intelligence God has given us.

And let’s also take time to pray, offering up words to God asking for just that little bit of help we need to make it through each day.
   — Todd Seifert, director of communications

Prayer for Reflection

Loving God, grant us today the wisdom we need to make good decisions. Give us the strength we need to carry on amid whatever our circumstances may be. And provide the courage we need to face any challenges that come our way today. Amen.


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