In spite of the fact that Jacob lived a life of manipulation and scheming, God still used him to accomplish His will. Jacob serves as a powerful reminder to us that no matter what our past looks like . . . God can use us too.
“DISCIPLINE, DECEPTION & DISTRUST”
We want to take a panoramic view of Jacob’s life this morning. After studying three chapters that will cover 20 years of his life, I came up with the sum total of that 20 year experience with three words - “Discipline, Deception, and Distrust.” It’s a shady passage or revelation in the life of Jacob and yet I want to show you a sovereign God, when we get to the end of it, and see how He worked it all out for his good. So if you’d take your Bibles and turn please, this morning, to Genesis, chapter 29 we’ll continue in our study of the life of Jacob.
Genesis, chapter 29. We’ll call this first scene, “Love at First Sight.” This is probably the attractive part of the entire passage we’re going to look at. But if you’re following along in your notes, you’ll notice that the first section is entitled “Love at First Sight.” Genesis, chapter 29, let’s read the first few verses. “Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the sons of the east. And he looked, and saw a well in the field, and behold, three flocks of sheep were lying there beside it, for from that well they watered the flocks. Now the stone on the mouth of the well was large. When all the flocks were gathered there, they would then roll the stone from the mouth of the well, and water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place on the mouth of the well.”
Let’s pause there and get the picture. Jacob has just completed a 500 mile journey. As you know, he left his home, he had stolen the blessing, and his mother saw that Esau was going to kill him and so she said, “Go to the old country and find a wife.” That was really a disguise for getting out of the home. And so he left on a 500 mile journey, all alone, as we studied in our last session.
He has just finished that long and tedious journey and he comes upon a well in the middle of a field of grass and there are sheep lying around this well. There are also a number of shepherds, probably teenagers, who were doing the job of tending the sheep, sitting perhaps on a sloping, grassy hillside nearby. Jacob comes up on this group of young men and he says to them, verse 4, “’My brothers, where are you from?’ And they said, ‘We are from Haran.’” Jacob’s heart begins to beat because that’s where he wants to head. “And he said to them, ‘Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?’ And they said, ‘We know him.’ And he said to them, ‘Is it well with him?’ And they said, ‘It is well, and - look - behold, Rachel his daughter is coming with the sheep.’” Now, as you know, he’s looking for a wife. She needs to be a relative from his family, and he’s just discovered he’s arrived where he’s been traveling to now for probably many months, 500 miles. And they say to him, “You’ve just landed where you’ve been traveling and I want you to know that the shepherdess, Rachel, is coming with her sheep.”
Well, verse 17, if you’ll look over there, let’s take a look at this Rachel. Verse 17 says, speaking of the two sisters, the daughters of Laban, “Now Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful of form and face.” Now that’s an Old Testament idiom when it says that Leah’s eyes were weak. That doesn’t mean that she had a vision problem. Unfortunately it meant she was very unattractive and that was the way of politely saying this woman was -- ugly. Well, it’s interesting too, that in Old Testament times when you wanted to refer to a woman who was beautiful, a lot of times they would say that she was “cow eyed”. I don’t know how many women would really get a kick out of being called “cow eyes” but if you were attractive, you were referred to as “cow eyed” and if you were unattractive, you were “tender eyed” or you were “weak eyed.” And you’ll understand a little bit more why Moses inserted this interesting verse when we get down later in the passage. But it says, she was very unattractive but Rachel was beautiful of form and face. That’s the Old Testament way of saying, “Wow! She’s beautiful of form and face.” He’s being polite, I guess. At any rate, she is tremendously attractive, she’s very beautiful.
Jacob sees her coming along with the sheep and he begins to act like a hot shot. I want you to notice what he does in the next verse. It says in verse 7, he says to the shepherds, “Behold, it is still high day; it is not time for the livestock to be gathered. Water the sheep, and go, pasture them.” This is clever. He is still the manipulator. He sees this beautiful young girl coming along, who’s a potential candidate for marriage, and he tries to get rid of the shepherds. He says, “Hey, you know, it’s really not time to gather the sheep for watering. Well I tell you what, give them a little to drink and head for the pasture. Get gone.” It’s kind of like a boy getting rid of his kid brother so he can have time alone. They don’t buy it. Look at the next verse. It says, verse 8, “they said, ‘We cannot, until all the flocks are gathered, and they roll the stone from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep.” And he probably growls under his breath. “While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. And it came about, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went up, and - note this, he - rolled the stone from the mouth of the well”. This stone is large and that’s why they waited until several shepherds were around because it took several shepherds to move this rock off the well. But he’s going to be a real tough guy. She comes along and he’s going to impress her so he goes and, by himself, rolls that rock off the top of the well. And, you know, probably flexing a little bit to Rachel, trying to get her attention. And then he waters her sheep, you’ll notice. This is a guy who’s never worked a day in his life. He’s the son, the pampered son, of the patriarch who had many servants. But here he is, really excited about watering her sheep.
Now what happens next is a shock. Somewhere, during the time that he’s watering her sheep, they probably communicated. And he gets all of the courage he can, he musters it up, and the next verse says, “He takes her and he kisses her”. I imagine he’s awkward and she’s shocked but I don’t see a slap anywhere in here. And so maybe there’s hope. What happens next is really impressive, Jacob “lifted his voice and wept.” Imagine, he’s just kissed a beautiful young girl and he starts crying. Ladies, what would you do if a fellow kissed you for the first time and started to weep? That’s exactly what happened here. He takes her, he kisses her, and then he begins to cry. She’s probably wondering, you know, “What’s wrong? What’s going on?” And really, in honesty to him, he was probably so overcome with emotion that she was the daughter of his mother’s brother. It all probably came on him, perhaps even the loneliness, the estrangement from his family, and here was a beautiful girl who may have even looked like Rebekah, reminding him of her, and he begins to cry.
Well the verse goes on to say that she runs to tell her father, Laban, about it. Verse 13, “So it came about, when Laban heard the news of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him and kissed him, and brought him to his house. Then he related to Laban all these things.” And I imagine, in that verse, you have probably several hours. He related to Laban all these things: probably the fact that he had deceived his brother, probably the fact that he had tricked his old blind father, probably the fact that he had manipulated his mother to get his way, all of these things, and how he had slipped away in the night to keep from being killed by Esau. He told Laban the whole story. “And Laban said to him,” verse 14, “’Surely you are my bone and my flesh.’” “ I have proof enough now that you are, in fact, related to me.” “And Jacob stayed with him a month.”
Now I want you to notice the set-up for the next scene - the deceiver being deceived. Verse 15, “Then Laban said to Jacob,” after a month now, “’Because you are my relative, should you therefore serve me for nothing?’” Now get this, Jacob is not serving Laban. Jacob isn’t working, he’s staying in his home. And evidently Jacob thought that he’d be entertained at length. So Laban, instead of coming along and saying, “Get to work!”. He comes along and tactfully says, “How much would you like to be paid for your work?”. In other words, “Get moving.” And I think he knows what Jacob is going to respond with. It says, verse 16, “Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.” Verse 18, “Now Jacob loved Rachel”. And for that month, this was probably obvious that he was courting Laban’s daughter. He says, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” Laban probably laughed up his sleeve. It’s legitimate now, understand, that Jacob would serve because Jacob is penniless, he has no dowry, no money. He’s left home without anything and so it’s perfectly legitimate that he will work as a dowry, or in place of a dowry, for his wife. So Laban said in verse 19, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to another man”. In other words, “I could care less but okay.” “’Stay with me.’ So Jacob served seven years for Rachel”. And I can’t believe this next passage, “and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her.” Can you imagine? Isn’t that disgusting? Seven years, oh but a day. He probably had some impact in this writing.
Well, at any rate, verse 21 begins the passage - the deceiver deceived. “Then Jacob said to Laban, ‘Give me my wife, for my time is completed’”. Now I don’t know if it had been just a day in his mind but he had been counting down the days - 2,555 days. I guarantee you on 2,556th day, he comes to Laban and he says, “My days are completed.” In other words, it’s the end of seven years. “Look, look at my calendar, I’ve marked down every day. Give her to me.” “And Laban gathered all the men” verse 22, “of the place, and made a feast. Now it came about in the evening that he took his daughter Leah, and brought her to him; and Jacob went in to her. Laban also gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah as a maid.” Now you need to understand that in this custom, the bride would be heavily veiled. Clothed, I imagine the only thing you could see of her were her fingertips, so he wouldn’t have a clue. It’s dark. He’s overcome with love and emotion. He’s worked seven years. He probably hardly took a second glance. Now they’re in the wedding tent. There is a week now to fulfill. Notice the next verse, “So it came about in the morning that, behold,” - that could be translated, “Look!”, - “it was Leah!” It’s almost as if Jacob is doing the writing now. The next morning, the sun streams in through the slit of the canvas, perhaps creating some kind of glow in the tent. And he wakes up realizing, “Oh, I’m a married man now.” He rolls over, perhaps to give Rachel a kiss. And LOOK! It’s Leah! I can imagine he jumped five feet into the air, wrapping that blanket around him, “What are you doing here?” I wish they’d put it in, the conversation that went on. She’s probably cowering over at the edge of the bed, “Well, you know, my Dad and I were part of this.” And he gets on his clothing, runs down to where Laban is staying, and he says, verse 25, middle part, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served with you? Why then have you deceived me?” I love Laban’s response. Jacob has met his match. Laban casually responds, “Oh, didn’t I tell you about a clause in the contract? We have a custom in out town, you never marry off the younger before the first-born. Didn’t I, oh, didn’t I tell you about that?” And Jacob is just probably seething. So Laban says, “Complete the week of this one”. There’s a lot in there that’s implied that Moses left out. Complete the week, the wedding week, “and we will give you the other”. In other words, I want you to fake it for this week. And Jacob knows he’ll be the laughing stock of the community if he ever lets on that he’s been deceived like this. So for a week, he’s trying to smile. I can see Leah, boy she’s got her arm around him, “got my husband”, you know. I can see the wedding picture now, she’s beaming, he’s snarling. But completing the week was what he had to do if he wanted to get Rachel. So he did. Finally, Rachel is given to him. “Jacob”, verse 30, “went in to Rachel also, and indeed he loved Rachel more than Leah, and he served with Laban for another seven years.” I can’t imagine. “What a tangled web”, Sir Walter Scott wrote, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”
Jacob is beginning to reap what he sewed. Norman Rockwell painted an interesting scene. He is my favorite painter. There is one painting where a woman is at a butcher counter buying a Thanksgiving turkey. She is perhaps in her sixties, dressed very properly. She’s standing on the other side of the counter with a smug smile on her face. On the other side of the counter is the butcher, standing behind the scales, and he’s got a sly little grin on his face. If you just look at the painting briefly, you’ll miss it. If you look closely, Rockwell has revealed their hands. The butcher’s thumb is pressing down on the scale behind the Thanksgiving turkey and the lady is with her finger pressing up on the scale. Deceiver meets deceiver. That’s a classic illustration of Jacob who has been, for his entire life, pressing up on the scale, manipulating circumstances, making sure that he arranges the weight of his activities in his life. But he meets a butcher by the name of Laban, who has a very heavy thumb. So the deceiver is deceived.
Let me bring out several ironies in the way that Jacob was deceived. They’ll be too long for you to jot down, so just listen. Number 1, just as Jacob had deceived his father, so now he himself was deceived by Rachel’s father. Just as Jacob had pretended to be Esau, Leah had pretended to be Rachel. Just as Jacob had dressed up in his brother’s clothing, so Leah dressed up in Rachel’s wedding clothing. If there was ever a time in the history of humanity when a man took a dose of his own medicine, it was then.
The next scene could be entitled, “The Battle For The Babies.” Look at verse 31, “Now the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, and He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived and bore a son and named him Reuben”. And for the next several verses, what we’ll have is a detailed account of all of the children that are born to Jacob. And it’s rather sad because there’s a tremendous amount of jealousy and fighting inside that home that is now a place of discord and strife. But you can’t help but pity Leah. Verse 31 says that the Lord had pity on her because He saw that she was unloved. Even though she had manipulated her way into that wedding, it’s interesting that God had pity that she was unloved. And I want you to note the names of the sons, they speak volumes of a very sad and lonely and frustrated woman. Her first son she named Reuben. That literally means, “Look, a son!” You see, in that economy, a son was the greatest thing you could give your husband. And it would bring an immense amount of pride and appreciation. So she has a son and she says, “Look, it’s a son!” But he doesn’t look. The next son is Simeon, which means, “hearing.” She’s saying, “God has heard me. Now, Jacob, will you hear me? Will you love me?” And yet he doesn’t. The third son is Levi, which means, “joined.” In other words, “Won’t this son bring about the attachment that I so desire from my husband?” But it doesn’t happen. It’s interesting that the final sons name is Judah, which means, “Praise the Lord!” It’s as if she reached the point in her life when she realized that he would not respond to her or show love to her or affection. And so the fourth son that comes along, she simply names him, “Praise God!” It’s a sad story.
Notice what Rachel is doing in verse 1 of chapter 30, “Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children”. She’s barren so the first act of desperation is done in verse 1. She goes to Jacob and blames him, “Give me children, or else I die.” “Then Jacob’s anger burned against Rachel, and he said, ‘Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?’” The second act of desperation, she gives him a concubine or her maid. “And she said, ‘Here is my maid Bilhah, go in to her, that she may bear on my knees, that through her I too may have children.’” What we’ve got going on, ladies and gentlemen, is a real battle. Who can give Jacob the most children? Because now Leah will follow suit and give her handmaid to Jacob, because she’s discovered, now after the fourth, that she’s not having any more children. So these two sisters are constantly fighting. One commentator suggested that this is one huge poker game. One woman says, “I bid one wife.” Each side is raising the ante. You know, I thought about this, and it’s like another one saying, “Well I bid one wife and four children.” The other one says, “Well, I’ll match your wife and raise you a concubine and her two children.” The other one says, “Well I’ll raise you another concubine.” That makes one wife, one concubine, six children, against one wife, one concubine and two children. Not that I know how to play poker, understand.
And what’s Jacob doing all of this time? Complaining? Oh no. Providing a solution? Not on your life. And as a result, this feud reaches a boiling point. Look at verse 14 of chapter 30, “Now in the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field,” - they were considered aphrodisiacs, that is fertility helps, - “and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, ‘Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.’ But she said to her,” - and note Leah’s response, this is classic, - “Is it a small matter for you to take my husband?”. Here’s the deceiver, here’s Leah, who slipped into that wedding tent, now she’s accusing Rachel of taking her husband. What a fight. But she says to her, “Therefore he may lie with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.” Rachel says, “Okay, he’s yours, just give me the fertility helps.” “When Jacob came in from the field in the evening, then Leah went out to meet him and said, ‘You must come in to me, for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.’” Jacob is really a spiritual giant, isn’t he? “So he lay with her that night. And God gave heed to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. Then Leah said, ‘God has given me my wages, because I gave my maid to my husband.’ So she named him Issachar.” And the passage goes on to tell about all of the other children that they have. And because of this, that home was in tremendous turmoil. Each woman trying to manipulate a loving response. You know, there are principles here that probably could contain a message. About how, as husbands, we are not to try to manipulate a loving response from our wives. How the wife is not to try to manipulate and manage some kind of loving response from the husband. We are to love unconditionally, regardless of response. The only thing that will happen is frustration if we try to buy or bribe the love and affection from our spouse.
The next scene is one of vindication. Look at verse 25. Let me boil down this last part of chapter 30 to a couple of statements. Let me at least read verse 25, “Now it came about when Rachel had borne Joseph”. You see, she finally had a son and she named him Joseph. “She named him Joseph,” verse 24, “saying, ‘May the Lord give me another son.’” Isn’t that interesting, here is her son, she finally has a boy and what does she name him, “Lord give me another one.” No contentment in that woman’s life. Well, let me boil it down because we don’t have time to read all of the passage. But Jacob finally goes to Laban and he proposes to leave. He wants to take his wives and his children and go. And when he proposes to do this, verse 27 reveals the selfishness of Laban. Look, “But Laban said to him, ‘If now it pleases you, stay with me; I have divined that the Lord has blessed me on your account.’” In other words, “You are my ticket to material wealth. You’re the patriarch. Wherever you go, God’s blessing goes. So please stay with me.” But Jacob finally reaches an agreement with Laban and he says, “Look, let’s divide the herd. You let me have the spotted, the speckled, the striped.” The predominant color of Bedouin sheep and goats, the sheep were predominantly white and the goats predominantly dark brown. It was rare for there to be a speckled or a spotted or a striped sheep. So what Jacob is saying is, “You know I am penniless. I’ve got wives and all these children and no way to support them. So, why don’t you give me the measly part of your flock and from this, I’ll develop a herd of my own.” And Laban says, “Okay, you deserve that.” So, they go through the herd, they divide it all, and I want you to notice what happens after the flock is divided. Verse 36, there’s so much trust between these two men, “And Laban put a distance of three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.” In other words, “I don’t trust you Jacob. You might slip over here and inter-breed these sheep so that you’ll come up with more spotted, and speckled, and striped sheep. So, I’m going to leave and I’m going to be gone three days journey away so you can’t get near me.” But, God intervened and turned that measly little flock into an incredible flock. Verse 43, “So the man became exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks and female and male servants and camels and donkeys.” Vindication, at last.
Now, Laban’s spirit is really going to become apparent in this next section we could entitle, “Eloping Twenty Years Late.” Look at chapter 31, verse 1, “Now Jacob heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, ‘Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s,” - Isn’t that interesting? - “and from what belonged to our father he has made all this wealth. And Jacob saw the attitude of Laban, and behold, it was not friendly toward him as formerly.” Verse 4, “So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to his flock in the field,”. This is for privacy sake. Verse 5, “and said to them, ‘I see your father’s attitude, that it is not friendly toward me as formerly, but the God of my father has been with me. And you know that I have served your father with all my strength. Yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times; however, God did not allow him to hurt me.’” Verse 11, “Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am.’” Verse 13, “I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you made a vow to Me; now arise, leave this land and return to the land of your birth.” So God has given his approval that Jacob is to leave. The only thing is, He didn’t tell Jacob to do it during the night. Jacob waits until Laban has gone away to shear his sheep and then he gets all of his wives and his children, the concubines, the servants, the donkeys, the cattle and he heads back home.
Of course, when Laban finds out, he’s very incensed. And finally they confront one another and they meet. I want you to look at the next passage, that’s verse 38 of the next chapter, chapter 31 if you’re not already there. Verse 38 of chapter 31. They finally meet. Laban catches up with Jacob and Jacob ERUPTS and he says to Laban, in a sense, “How dare you try to hold me back!” “These twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried,” - that is, “I have taken careful care of them” - “nor have I eaten the rams of your flocks.” That is, “I haven’t taken care of my own business expenses at your account. I haven’t fed myself and my men from your herd.” Next verse, “That which was torn of beasts I did not bring to you; I bore the loss of it myself.” In other words, “No insurance policy.” The next part of the verse says, “You required it of my hand whether stolen by day or stolen by night.” In other words, “I served you. I took care of your flock. I made sure there were no miscarriages. I made sure that I didn’t eat at your expense. Whenever one died or was stolen, I took care of it out of my own pocket. For 20 years!” “Thus I was:” verse 40, “ by day the heat consumed me, and the frost by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes.” In other words, he’s saying, “I didn’t have a vacation for 20 years. These 20 years I’ve been in your house, I served you 14 years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you changed my wages 10 times.” “If the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac,” - boy, he’s really getting on that stump now - “had not been for me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and the toil of my hands, so He rendered judgment last night.” Vindication is fulfilled.
The next passage of scripture ends this 20 year period. We can call it a covenant of distrust. This is a covenant that’s often misinterpreted today in the 20th century. You’ll find this on Hallmark cards and scripture cards and this is a warm, fuzzy feeling. But I want you to notice the context, Laban says in verse 43, “’The daughters are my daughters, and the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day to these my daughters or to their children whom they have borne? So now come, let us make a covenant, you and I, and let it be a witness between you and me.’ Then Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar. And Jacob said to his kinsmen, ‘Gather stones.’ So they took stones and made a heap, and they ate there by the heap.” Verse 49, here’s the covenant, “May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other.” Have you ever heard that or seen that? In other words, “May the Lord watch over us as I am absent from you.” Note the next verse, “If you mistreat my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no man is with us, see, God is witness between you and me.” In other words, they’re setting up this covenant which means this, “While I can’t see you and while my back is turned to you, if you slip across my border and steal sheep, God’s watching you. If you do anything to my daughters, God’s watching you.” And Jacob says, “Yea, that sounds great. If while I’m away from you and I’m not watching you, if you slip over into my border and try anything funny, God is my witness.” That was the covenant of distrust. And they bid one another good-bye forever.
If we could have Jacob with us a few minutes this morning. At a time, let’s say, just before he died, we had him all to ourselves. Let’s say we bring him out on the porch and we sit him in a very comfortable chair. And we take a blanket and we put it around his stooped shoulders and around his knees to keep away the chill. And we draw up a chair real close to Jacob. And we lean toward him and we say, “Jacob, you’ve lived a colorful life. In fact, the most colorful is perhaps that 20 year period in the old country. If you could give us some lessons as to what you learned, would you give them now?” After studying this man’s life for several weeks, I’m almost convinced, Jacob would lean back in his chair and he’d take a deep breath, he’d let it out, he’d ponder his words, he was never much of a talker, with his chin on his chest, he’d probably say, “Twenty years in the old country, I sure met my match in that old Laban. I guess I learned two lessons. Number one, I’ve learned that you reap what you sew. I never really cared what I did, who I hurt, as long as I got my way. Manipulating my poor mother, tricking my old father, sneaking the blessing away from my brother. It didn’t matter to me, as long as I got my way. But I sewed the seeds of deception, trickery, pride, self-advancement. And I sewed those seeds and as a result, reaped humiliation, insecurity, pain.”
If we could interrupt Jacob for just a moment, we could come real close to where we are today. We also reap precisely what we sew. We sew a lifestyle that is in direct violation with God’s principles and we will reap disaster. Believer or not, some of us may be balancing on a tightrope of that disaster right now, without a net, without a pole. One man wrote that God may seem slow but he never compromises with consequences. And you will reap abandonment, fear, loss of joy, and ineffectiveness.
But let’s get back to Jacob because he said he had two lessons to teach us. I think second would be this, I can almost see him in my mind, probably a little gleam coming to his eye, maybe a smile flickering across his face as he takes another deep breath, he says, “I’ve also learned, that God is in sovereign control. I would have never married Leah. But from her would come Levi.” And if he could see into the future, he would tell you and me that Levi, her son, would be the one who would father the tribe that would bring the nation of Israel to the mercy seat of God. They would be the priests unto God. No Leah, no Levi. And one of the great, great grandsons of Levi was Moses. No Leah, no Moses. And Judah, her fourth, from Judah would come David, the king of Israel. And from him would come the tribe or that line from which Jesus Christ will come. No Leah, no David. “God even used my failure and my lack of understanding to advance His cause. GOD is in sovereign control.”