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.