Summary: In this sermon on the family, we see Jacob’s problem, Jacob’s pursuit, and Jacob’s peace.


Genesis 35:1-7, 14

There’s an Ozark story about a hound sitting in a country store and howling as hounds do. In comes a stranger who says to the storekeeper, "What’s the matter with the dog?" "He’s sitting on a cocklebur." "Why doesn’t he get off?" "He’d rather holler." (He wasn’t too concerned)

Many today are concerned about such things as foreign policy, military policy, and economic policy. But we as Christians had better be concerned about home policy.

The American family is in trouble today. In some places, there are more divorces than there marriages a year. Children and teenagers are wild and ungodly because of no leadership in the home. The alcoholic

Wife is more common place everyday. Adultery and fornication are common place. The family god is pleasure, and its goal is money and possessions. Its altar is the TV, and the Bible has been replaced by the newspaper, prayer by the telephone, and faith by the credit card. The chief delight is not Jesus but self.

Dr. Jerry Vines said, the situation is desperate, but not hopeless, for the house can become a home, and the man, the woman, and the child can become a family. The key is getting back to God.


And 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.

God speaks to Jacob, calling him back to Bethel. The whole Shechem incident is a result of Jacob going to Shechem instead of to Bethel, where he was supposed to be. We often end up in much difficulty, and bring much difficulty to those around us, because we are not where God has told us to be.

Genesis 34 does not mention God once, and is one of the most sordid chapters in Israel’s history. Genesis 35 mentions God over and over again, more than ten times, plus 11 more times in names such as Bethel and Israel.


And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.

And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her.

Jacob chose the place he would live for all the wrong reasons. He wanted to be close to the city (Genesis 33:18), though the city was ungodly. God had called him to Bethel! Jacob’s poor choice of a place to live left his family open to ungodly influence.

Jacob had not only allowed his daughter to go into this godless place but he didn’t know Rachel had stolen idols from her father’s house and taught their worship to their children.

Jacob should have been directing his family in the right direction toward God but he had failed to this.

A judge in a certain southern city was about to sentence a young man to prison. At that time, the father stood up and cried out, “Sentence me Judge, I have been busy all my life making money, it is not my son’s fault, it is my fault.”

It is time that fathers be what God has called them to be in the home and that is the leader, the director.

I visited a ranch for homeless boys several years ago. While I was there, a young boy begin crying aloud. I found out the reason was that he crying was that he had no father. Well there are many boys who are living in a home with fathers, but yet in reality, they have no father. Because the fathers have nothing to do with their responsibility as a parent.

Clovis Chappell, a minister from a century back, used to tell the story of two paddleboats. They left Memphis about the same time, traveling down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. As they traveled side by side, sailors from one vessel made a few remarks about the snail’s pace of the other. Words were exchanged. Challenges were made. And the race began. Competition became vicious as the two boats roared through the Deep South.

One boat began falling behind. Not enough fuel. There had been plenty of coal for the trip, but not enough for a race. As the boat dropped back, an enterprising young sailor took some of the ship’s cargo and tossed it into the ovens. When the sailors saw that the supplies burned as well as the coal, they fueled their boat with the material they had been assigned to transport. They ended up winning the race, but burned their cargo.

God has entrusted cargo to us, too: children, spouses, friends. Our job is to do our part in seeing that this cargo reaches its destination.

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