An Unpredictable World
We live in a world that is very unpredictable. What we come to expect often turn out not to be the case and it catches us off guard. With all the goings on in this world, it can be very easy to get caught up in the ways of the world and do as it does.
Reacting to an Unpredictable Event
In Genesis 34, Jacob’s daughter Dinah, was raped by a Canaanite prince who afterward wanted to marry her and wanted to form a marriage alliance with Jacob’s family. Dinah’s brothers were furious as to how their sister was treated and wouldn’t permit this to happen. In an act of revenge, two of the brothers came into the Canaanite city of Shechem (where the prince had lived), killed the prince and all the males of the city and rescued Dinah.
Time to Realign
At the end of the chapter, Jacob was clearly rattled by what his sons had done. In Genesis 35:1-4, the Lord commanded the Jacob and his family to leave the area where they were at and go to the place where Jacob first encountered Him. After a moment like this, when everything seems to be upside down spiritually, it’s important to take pause and realign yourself with God.
Building a Bond
Jacob knew that as the spiritual head of the family, it was his responsibility to lead his family back to God. Their many years of hanging out with Canaanites had caused them to take on some of their ungodly practices as their own. This often happens when you don’t have a strong relationship with God in the first place. What can a person do to establish a bond with Him?
Put Away Distractions
The first step is to put away those things that would distract us from Him. In verses 2-4, Jacob saw that the thing that distracted his family were the idols and the clothing that they had collected during their time in Canaan. They were looking more like Canaanites and less like God’s chosen people. To fix this, Jacob commanded them to give him these trappings of Canaanite life and he buried them in the land where they had wandered away from God.
The next step is to restore reverent respect for God. The Lord must be recognized as One who is holy. We must therefore strive to purify ourselves in all aspects of our lives before coming to Him for worship. In Genesis 35:6-7, Jacob’s family came to Bethel, the place where God met Jacob for the first time. There Jacob built an altar to God and modeled to his family the proper way to worship the Lord.
To confirm that Jacob showed the proper way to worship and to make His presence know to the members of the family , God spoke to Jacob in Genesis 35:9-12 and confirmed the blessings that He promised to him the first time they met. Furthermore, God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. The old conniving trickster that was Jacob was no more; in his place was the man Israel who would strive to serve the Lord all the days of his life.
Giving Proper Thanks
The final step is remembering the good things that God has done for you and giving thanks for them. In Genesis 35:14-15, Israel responded to God’s many blessings by setting up a pillar to remember the occasion and gave thanks by pouring a drink offering upon the pillar. It’s easy to leave worshiping God with just happy feelings that soon pass away with time; only when we pause to give God thanks for all that He has done does worship become more like spending quality time with a dear friend.
Time to Reflect
We can easily get carried away with the cares and worries of this world. What things in your life are distracting you from having a right relationship from God? What is your view of Him, do you see Him as One that is worthy of respect and worship? Have you ever considered the good things that God has done for you and given thanks? It’s time to get realigned with God.