January 12

Read Genesis 34 -- 36

In Today's Reading:

Dinah, daughter of Jacob and Leah is raped; Simeon and Levi's revenge; Jacob's return to Bethel; Abrahamic Covenant renewed.

Jacob continued on toward Bethel, since the Lord had said: I am the God of Bethel . . . return to your native land (Genesis 31:13). But, just a short distance from Bethel, Jacob discovered the beautiful valleys and opportunities for financial gain near the Canaanite city of Shechem near the promised land (33:18).

For ten years Jacob's stay seemed to be successful. Then we read the tragedy of his daughter Dinah. When Shechem . . . a prince of the region, saw her, he took her, slept with her, and forced her (34:2). In revenge for their sister Dinah's rape, Simeon and Levi slew all the men of Shechem.

Godly parents often become so involved with achieving material goals that they neglect to train up a child in the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6). This often results in worldly attractions gaining control of their children's hearts and leads to heartbreaking consequences.

Surely, we can learn from Jacob that material success is no assurance that we are in the will of God. But the greatest lesson we can learn from Jacob's tragedies is that he didn't give up when his situation looked hopeless. Instead, he turned to the Lord, who said: Get up! Go to Bethel and settle there. Build an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau (Genesis 35:1). At this time of renewal, Jacob instructed his family to get rid of the foreign gods. . . . Purify yourselves and change your clothes. We must get up and go to Bethel. I will build an altar there to the God who . . . has been with me everywhere I have gone (35:2-3).

Three things Jacob said to his family have a parallel for Christians. He first said: Get rid of the foreign gods — a reminder that old habits of sin must be forsaken; the second: Purify yourselves and change your clothes — a reminder to pursue . . . holiness — without it no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). Thirdly, we are to worship only God: You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him alone you shall serve (Luke 4:8).

Participation in church worship is a very important way in which God can speak to us, through Bible School, Bible study, and sermons. Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her, to make her holy, cleansing her in the washing of water by the word (Ephesians 5:25-26).

Christ Revealed:

El-Shaddai, the All-sufficient One (Genesis 35:11). Jesus said: I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, says the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty (Revelation 1:8).

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX) and Rep. Karen Thurman (FL) · Country: Liechtenstein (32,000) in western Europe · Major languages: German and Alemannic dialect · Religious freedom · 87% Roman Catholic; 12% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Sing praises to the Lord (Psalms 30:4).

Optional Reading: Matthew 12

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:4