A Short Study of Genesis 31:52
“This heap be witness, and this pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm.”
As a picture of false religion and seeing Jacob leaving with all that he thought to be his own, Laban pursued Jacob into a mountain. There before confronting his son-in-law, God came to him in a dream and warned him concerning how he would speak to Jacob. He was not to speak good or bad (Genesis 31:24). No more false promises and lies and no commandments to cause him to return.
In this place, called Gilead, the old father of lies was brought to the end of his pursuit. Here Jacob and Laban came to a strange agreement. The agreement was that they could not agree. The covenant was that neither could pass this point without doing harm to the other (Genesis 31:52). There a memorial was raised out of stone to be a watchtower (Mizpah) and a testimony to all generations of both Laban and Jacob. This place to me is the place of grace. If works will pass this point they cease to be works. If grace goes beyond the testimony it will cease to be grace (Romans 11:6).
There is a place beyond which religion cannot pass and that point is the testimony of Gods’ free grace in Christ. They had rather loose all their possessions and all their daughters than cross this line. This point is the point of turning loose of all that we ever knew and loved based on the testimony of Gods’ messenger. This is the point of leaving natural ties and joining ourselves with the children of the promise. This is the place where Laban, by his own will, returns to his fathers’ land and to his fathers’ paganism.
What a sad note Moses pens at the end of this chapter. “And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and daughters, and blessed them; and Laban departed, and returned unto his place.” He returned to his place because that is where his heart was. He returned to his place because that is where his hope was and he returned to his place because that is the judgment of God upon all those who will not believe (John 3:36).