Morning, November 22, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

“Now Jacob fled to Aram, and Israel worked for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep.” — Hosea 12:12

Jacob, while contending with Laban, describes his own toil in this way, “I have been with you for twenty years now. Your sheep and goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten rams from your flocks. I did not bring you animals torn by wild beasts; I bore the loss myself. And you demanded payment from me for whatever was stolen by day or night. This was my situation: The heat consumed me in the daytime and the cold at night, and sleep fled from my eyes.” Even more hard and tedious than this was the life of our Savior here below. He watched over all his sheep until he gave as his last account, “Of all those whom you have given me I have lost none.” His hair was wet with dew from the early morning, and his locks with the dampness of the night. Sleep fled from his eyes, for all night he was in prayer wrestling for his people. One night Peter must be pleaded for; shortly, another claims his tearful intercession. No shepherd sitting beneath the cold skies, looking up to the stars, could ever utter such complaints because of the hardness of his toil as Jesus Christ might have brought, if he had chosen to do so, because of the severity of his service in order to procure his spouse–

“Cold mountains and the midnight air,

Witnessed the fervor of his prayer;

The desert his temptations knew,

His conflict and his victory too.”

It is gratifying to dwell upon the spiritual parallel of Laban having required all the sheep at Jacob’s hand. If they were torn of beasts, Jacob must make it good; if any of them died, he must stand as a guarantor for the whole. Was not the toil of Jesus for his Church the toil of one who was under pledge, with obligation to bring every believing one safe to the hand of him who had committed them to his charge? Look upon laboring Jacob, and you see a representation of him of whom we read, “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd.”