Have you ever been in a situation that involved shifting goalposts? You know where the goalpost is. You set your sights on it. You strive to reach it. Then all of a sudden, someone moves the goalpost. And you have to start all over again.
Jacob dealt with shifting goalposts when he lived with his father-in-law, Laban. Laban kept changing the rules. Each time Laban made a new wage agreement, he shifted the goalpost.
Shifting Goalposts Number One
The first goalpost shifted after Laban agreed to let Jacob marry his daughter, Rachel. Jacob worked seven years for Rachel’s hand. At the end of seven years, Laban tricked Jacob. Somehow, Jacob ended up married to Laban’s oldest daughter, Leah instead of Rachel.
Laban let Jacob marry Rachel after Jacob spent seven days with Leah. On the condition Jacob worked an additional seven years.
When the additional seven years were completed, Jacob wanted to leave with his wives and children. Laban knew how his flocks prospered under Jacob’s care. He understood his wealth increased because Jacob was there. Because of that, Laban wasn’t eager to let Jacob leave.
Shifting Goalposts Number Two
The two men made an agreement. Laban would give Jacob the speckled, spotted, and black sheep and goats from the flocks as Jacob’s wages. Only, that day Laban removed all the male goats that were streaked or spotted. He also removed all the female goats that were speckled and spotted or had white patches. He removed all the black sheep too.
Jacob practiced a little animal husbandry and with God’s help, increased his flocks despite Laban’s deception and shifting goalposts.
Shifting Goalposts Number Three
After Laban cheated Jacob and changed his wages ten times, Jacob told his two wives it was time to pack up and leave.
Jacob acknowledged that even though his father-in-law was an unscrupulous cheat, God had not allowed Laban to do Jacob any harm. God had prospered Jacob. God had made Jacob wealthy.
Without telling Laban their plans, Jacob and his family left while Laban was away. Jacob refused to allow Laban’s shifting goalposts keep him from what God had planned for him.
We may deal with shifting goalposts at the hands of people in our life as Jacob did. When that happens, one thing we need never fear is shifting goalposts when it comes to God.
God’s word is true. He does not lie. God is not a cheat nor is he a deceiver. Those are the enemies traits, not God’s. What God promises, he will deliver. We can count on God.
We may face shifting goalposts as Jacob did, but one thing is sure. They can’t keep us from what God has planned for us.
Ready to shout, Goal!?
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You know that I have served your father with all my strength, yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times. But God did not permit him to harm me. Genesis 31:6-7 ESV
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