"Then the Lord said to Jacob, "Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you." So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field, to his flock, and said to them, "I see your father's countenance, that it is not favorable toward me as before; but the God of my father has been with me. And you know that with all my might I have served your father. Yet your father has deceived me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not allow him to hurt me. If he said thus: 'The speckled shall be your wages,' then all the flocks bore streaked. So God has taken away the livestock of your father and given them to me. And it happened, at the time when the flocks conceived, that I lifted my eyes and saw in a dream, saying, 'Jacob.' And I said, 'Here I am.' And He said, "Lift your eyes now and see, all the rams which leap on the flocks are streaked, speckled, and gray-spotted; for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow to Me. Now arise, get out of this land, and return to the land of your family." - Genesis 31:3-14
How do you know when it's time to make a move in your life? I'm not sure that it's ever easy, but Jacob's life provides a few guidelines that can perhaps help us discern. There were three things that caused Jacob to realize it was time to go.
1) Inner witness in his heart
2) Outward circumstances of his life
3) Revelation of God's Word
The most important words in Jacob's heart were the words of God: And I will be with you. He was moving in a direction that would benefit him & his family spiritually. It wasn't just a move that would benefit him materially or temporarily. He could move forward confidently regardless of difficulty, because God was leading; bearing witness by His word.
He also consulted those closest to him. He shared his heart with Rachel and Leah. He says, "I'm not sure that you've noticed, but things are changing around here. You know my track record of integrity, that I've served your father diligently event though he's sought to deceive me and he's altered the details of our original agreement some 10 times! But God did not allow him to hurt me." I love that. The psalmist said that like this, "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" (Psalm 118:6) Yes, God's Word is our primary source of wisdom when it comes to making decisions, but it's also good to consult with others, especially those closest to us whom we know will have our best interest at heart.
Here's something I want you to see: when God called, Jacob answered. If you want the dream that God has placed in your heart to come to pass, you've got to answer the call and let God have His way in your life. If God is speaking to your heart are you answering the call or ignoring the call? God said, "Lift up your eyes and now see, I'm at work in you and I'm going to do a great work through your life." So many times we feel like we've got to take matters into our hands....But God says, "I've seen everything that's gone on, going on, and I'll take care of it My way, in My time." Don't worry about retribution, leave that to God, you return to your roots.
Notice that God calls Himself "The God of Bethel." You see, God is calling Jacob back, He's bringing to his mind remembrance of that first encounter that he'd had with the Lord in a personal way. Sometimes we get caught up, get the motor going, get out there and we're doing life, we're believers, we're working and years go by. Somewhere along the way, even though we're still busy about ministry or we're coming to church regularly, we've forgotten to cultivate that first love relationship with Jesus, personally.
God says, "It's time to come home. I'm still the same God who blew your mind back then, who put a pep in your step and set your heart on fire for Me. Come back to that place." Remember, repent, and repeat. Get back to that place of being fresh in love with Jesus Christ. The God who was blessing you and blowing you away back then hasn't changed, He's still there and it's time to come home.
Do you have an inner witness in your heart? Are your outward circumstances changing to prepare you for something different? When God's Word reveals to you that He is moving, what are you going to do?