Thursday, January 24. Genesis 35 – 37

Jacob’s struggles are not over.

I notice a real contrast between chapter thirty-four and chapter thirty-five. God’s name is not mentioned at all on the former. He is mentioned throughout the latter.

Jacob had made a vow to God to return to Bethel and build an altar to the Lord. He’d made it nearly thirty years before. He’s returned to Canaan, but not to the place of the vow: Bethel. He built a ranch in Succoth. He has lived in Shechem. And trouble has dogged his every step.

Why?

I think part of it is that he has not yet returned to Bethel. He promised to return there and worship the Lord, dedicating himself to God. Perhaps his reluctance is that he knows if he fulfills his vow, his life will take on an uncertainty he’s uncomfortable with, require more than he wants to give.

Notice that when God finally gives him a push in chapter thirty-five (and says “Go to Bethel”), Jacob and his family has to get rid of all their foreign gods. They’ve not exactly been faithful to the Lord.

When we commit to be God’s people, we must life in a way that demonstrates our trust in Him, not in ourselves or anything else earthly. Commitment requires fulfillment. Commitment requires action. When we commit, and live as if we have not, we cannot expect God to bless us. Live will continue to be a struggle.