Abraham remains faithful to God? In contrast many of his descendants degenerate into gross immorality. Warning to us as we read how even Jacob's household had strange (popular, false) gods.
And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an alter unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother (Gen. 35:1).
Jacob's prayer was answered and Esau welcomed his return after twenty years. Following Esau's departure, Jacob continued on toward Bethel since the Lord had said: I am the God of Bethel . . . return unto the land of thy kindred (31:13). But, just a short distance from Bethel, Jacob discovered the beautiful valleys and opportunities for financial gain at Succoth, and built him an house (33:17). He then came to Shalem . . . and pitched his tent (33:18) on the border of the promised land. It appears that he expected God to bless his “almost complete obedience” when he erected an altar there (33:20) and settled his family.
For ten years Jacob's stay seemed to be successful. Then we read the tragedy of his daughter Dinah. When the prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her (34:2). After their sister's rape, Dinah's brothers Simeon and Levi retaliated with murder and their brothers looted homes and destroyed property, violently taking out their revenge upon the inhabitants of the city.
Oh, how often children suffer eternal consequences because of their parents' poor example, bad decisions or disobedience. Parents are entrusted to train up a child in the way he should go (Prov. 22:6). Proper training can be accomplished only by teaching them about Jesus and teaching them to read and obey the Word of God. When parents become too involved with achieving material goals, they often neglect spiritual responsibilities to their children during their teachable years. This leaves the door open for worldly pursuits to gain control of their hearts. That often leads to a series of far-reaching, long term consequences.
Often, as we increase materially, we decrease spiritually,and it is not until we are faced with a crisis that the Lord is able to get our attention. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (Matt. 6:24).
We can learn from the way Jacob handled tragedies in that he didn't give up when his situation looked hopeless. Instead, he turned to the Lord (Gen. 35:1).
When we fail, we too, need to be reminded of how we began our walk with the Lord, trusting Him for help, strength, and guidance. But, too often as time passes and God continues to bless us, we lose the sense of urgency or the same simple dependence upon God that we had in the beginning.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen (Matt. 6:11-13).
Thought for Today:
We seldom realize the far-reaching effects of our disobedience.
As God Almighty, El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient One (Gen. 35:11). Jesus is the Lord . . . which is . . . the Almighty (Rev. 1:8).
34:2 defiled, raped; 34:3 clave, clung to, was passionately attracted to; 34:7 wrought folly, brought disgrace; 34:27 spoiled, plundered; 34:30 troubled, made trouble for; 35:11 come out of thy loins, be among your descendants.
Pray for Government Official: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX) • Country: Mongolia (2.4 million) in east-central Asia • Major language: Khalkha Mongol • As a 70-year era of communism wanes, Bibles are now on sale in the capital, Ulaanbaatar • 95.5% Tibetan Buddhist; 4% Muslim; .3% Christian; .2% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Rejoice that our Savior was born (Luke 2:11).
Optional Reading: Matthew 12
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 100:1-2