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Bible Pathways 01/12/05

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 the land of your kindred (Genesis 31:13). But, just a short distance from Bethel, Jacob discovered the beautiful valleys and opportunities for financial gain near Shechem (33:18).

For ten years Jacob's stay seemed to be successful. Then we read of the tragedy of his daughter Dinah. When Shechem . . . prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled (violated) 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: Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother (Genesis 35:1). At this time of renewal, Jacob instructed his family to put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar to God, who . . . was with me in the way . . . I went (35:2-3).

Three things Jacob said to his family have a parallel for Christians. He first said: Put away the strange gods - a reminder that old habits of sin must be forsaken; the second: be clean, and change your garments - a reminder to follow . . . holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). Thirdly, we are to worship only God: You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve (Luke 4:8).

Participation in church worship is a very important way in which God can speak to us, through Bible study, hymns of praise, sermons, and presenting our tithes and offerings, and in participating in the sacred sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of the water by the Word (Ephesians 5:25-26).

Christ Revealed:

As God Almighty, El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient One (Genesis 35:11). Jesus is the Lord . . . who is the Almighty (Revelation 1:8).

Word Studies:

34:2 defiled = raped; 34:3 clave = passionately attracted to; 34:7 wrought folly = brought disgrace; 34:27 spoiled = plundered; 34:30 troubled = made trouble for; 35:11 out of thy loins = your offspring.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of Bonnie Wilhite · BP Staff: Karen Sniegon · Government Official: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX) · Country: Guinea-Bissau (1 million) on the western coast of Africa · Major languages: Portuguese and Criolo · Religious freedom · 51% animist; 42% Muslim; 6% Roman Catholic; .7% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Rely upon the Lord at all times; He is your refuge (Psalm 62:8).

Optional Reading: Matthew 12

Memory Verse for the Week: Galatians 5:22

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