Summary: Emphasises that when we surrender to God He will help us overcome our enemies, even when we are the enemy.
It’s Time To Stop Fighting and Start Living
1And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. 2Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: 3And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. 4And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem. 5And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.
Allow me to make a few observations about these verses;
1. God gives direction for our lives
2. Jacob, the family leader, recognizes that there are areas in his family’s life that offend God
3. “Let us arise”- It’s time to stop thinking and start doing
4. When we are obedient to God there will be a desire in our hearts to worship God.
Jacob and his family probably felt like they were alone. There wasn’t a tabernacle to worship God in so they began to worship the gods of the world.
The earrings they wore (or the idols wore) were most likely engraved with zodiac signs or symbols of false gods. That is why they were asked to give them up.
Jacob needed to change the way his family was living. Materially there were doing just fine, they were very wealthy. Material wealth does not buy peace of heart or mind, however.
So Jacob saw the need to convince his family that they were not alone; that Jehovah God knew where they were, that He cared for them, and that He was willing to provide for them and protect them.
Jacob said; “Let’s go to Bethel, and I will build an altar there, and we will worship The God who answered me in the time of my distress.”
5. The people obeyed, Gave Jacob their idols, their trinkets made for other gods. Jacob took their items of sin and buried them; MUCH AS God does when we confess and repent.
6. As a result, God was with them and protected them from their enemies. (In chapter 34 Dinah was raped; her brothers conspired to kill all the men of the offender’s family)
Now let’s apply this to our life:
1. As God gave direction to Jacob (the leader of the family) He will give direction to the leaders of our families.
Husbands and fathers, mothers raising children alone, this means YOU!
Jacob’s family was living in sin and he knew it. He did nothing to stop them. By allowing this to go on he said to his family that it was alright. Because he failed to confront them they drifted further and further away from God and into idol worship.
2. Jacob realizes that he and his family are in big trouble (vs.34:30)
In verse 31 the family tries to justify their actions as many do today. Evil should never be repaid with evil regardless of what has been done by others to us!
Look at verse 35:1. It doesn’t say it but either there should have been a verse 34:31 or this should have been verse 35:2.Somewhere between the end of chapter 34 and the beginning of chapter 35, Jacob must have done some serious praying.
Let’s look back in time a little further. Go to chapters 32 and 33.
In this chapter Jacob learns that his twin brother Esau is coming. (Remember Jacob stole or bought his brothers’ birth right with a bowl of stew)
LESSON: God will confront us with areas of our lives that need to be taken care of. If there is a past relationship, family or otherwise, that is strained you need to confront it. If it’s been on your mind God is already beginning to confront you about it.
Jacob was fearful for his life and the lives of his family members. He made elaborate plans in an attempt to save at least a portion of his family. Rather than confront it head on, he like many of us, tried to find a way around it.
Fear is a horrible emotion! The result of Jacob’s actions is found in verse 32:34; “And Jacob was left alone.” In the midst of a crisis how many times have we felt alone?
In his “loneliness” God confronts him; “and there he (Jacob) wrestled a man until the breaking of day.”