Regular nibbles from the Bible. . .come for a bite, leave with an appetite

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight. (Psalm 19:14, MSG)

Monday, January 14, 2013

NOT FAR ENOUGH (Genesis 33-35)

Jacob must have thought he had the worst of his problems behind him. God had protected him from Uncle Laban's anger and given him a miraculous reconciliation with his brother Esau. When he arrived in Shechem, he built an altar to "El Elohe Israel," The Mighty God of Israel. He was praising God, and perhaps bragging a tiny bit as well. 

Oh, yes, not to mention the name change from Jacob, heel or supplanter, to Israel, God-Wrestler.

Instead Jacob's sons Simeon and Levi put him the greatest danger yet. One of the local boys fell in love with their sister, Dinah. He raped her, but loved her enough to wish to marry her. Jacob and Shechem arranged a treaty for intermarriage and exchange on one condition: that the men of Shechem be circumcised.

While they were recovering from the procedure, Simeon and Levi slaughtered all the men in the town. Jacob scolded them. "Now everybody will want to kill us!"

Funny how God appeared to be quiet all through these events. 

When God did speak up, He told Jacob, "Go back to Bethel. To where I appeared to you in a dream."

Jacob had returned to Canaan - but perhaps he hadn't gone far enough. Settling near Shechem left him and his family vulnerable to the temptations of intermarrying with the Canaanites and becoming indistinguishable from the people of the land. 

God directed him to go farther. To go all the way back to Bethel, in fact. To revisit the place where he met God in a time of renewed commitment. 

I suspect we all do this to a certain extent. We obey God--up to a point. And often God has to prod us to go all the way. 

I'd love to hear your stories of times God prodded you to go farther. 


  1. Every time I write a story or query letter, God prods me to send it somewhere. Cliche' I guess, but I don't know if I'd send it without the prodding... :)

  2. Seems I never read enough of the scriptures. God is always prodding me to go farther...or to DIG farther. Had a rough night last night. Sleep just wouldn't come, so I got up and read much of Romans, as well as a lot of other Scripture. This morning's devo with hubby was on Esther, Chapter 6, how King Ahasuerus's difficulty sleeping one night prompted him to read the chronicles and discover that Mordecai had warned Esther of a plot against the king's life. In the end, the Jews are saved from Haman's hideous plot. The devotional author pointed out how God uses our experiences for His purpose.

    Hubs and I have also been studying how God used Abram's experiences to train His chosen servant to father His holy nation.

    Hmmmm. Wondering what morsels God will use from my sleepless experience to train me? I love your devotional ideas, Darlene! Keep digging!

  3. Thank you Darlene! I think that fear keeps me from doing what God wants me to do and I often don't go far enough. I often wonder whether my not being able to go to Bible College was due to my not taking that one last step toward fulfilling it. I still regret not having done it to this day although I can also see ways that it was not His will (the school is not what it was and its doctrines had been changing ...). I do start over in Bethel quite often and that is not a bad thing lol...

  4. Barb, you'll have to let me know what God shows you through your sleepless readings. In reading Genesis this time through, I've noticed how God had to intervene time and time again in the very human, less-than-perfect choices the Patriarchs made, to bring them back to Himself and to His purpose for their lives.

  5. Kathleen, you wanted to go to Bible college? Where? I attended Northeastern Bible College 72- 76. Amen about returning to Bethel!