Walking in His Ways

Genesis 34:1-35:11And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. 2And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her. 3And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel. 4And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife. 5And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter: now his sons were with his cattle in the field: and Jacob held his peace until they were come. 6And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him. 7And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter; which thing ought not to be done. 8And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife. 9And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you. 10And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein. 11And Shechem said unto her father and unto her brethren, Let me find grace in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me I will give. 12Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me: but give me the damsel to wife. 13And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister: 14And they said unto them, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that were a reproach unto us: 15But in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised; 16Then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people. 17But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone. 18And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor's son. 19And the young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob's daughter: and he was more honorable than all the house of his father. 20And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying, 21These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for the land, behold, it is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters. 22Only herein will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised. 23Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs be ours? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us. 24And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city. 25And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males. 26And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went out. 27The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister. 28They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field, 29And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house. 30And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house. 31And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot? 1And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Beth-el, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. (Genesis 34:1‑35)
What a sad picture we see in the thirty-fourth chapter! Poor scheming and planning Jacob got into plenty of trouble with his family. No doubt there are lessons for us all here, and since most of our readers are children and young people, it will help you a great deal to learn them now, for if you do, you will be spared many a sorrow. If you are truly saved, the Lord will bring you safely home to glory, but if you choose to walk in willful ways, He will have to bring you by a hard way as He did Jacob. How much happier it would be to walk in His ways and take Him into all your plans, asking His guidance, and seek­ing His help. It is becoming harder to be faithful, for the world holds out so many attractions, but they will soon leave you alone if you try to follow Christ. Remember, however, that you are not alone, for the Lord does not call upon us to go out from the world’s company, but to “come out,” showing that He is outside, too, and He will be our Friend and Companion — yes, a Father to us in such a position (2 Corinthians 6:17-18). He will also lead us to true companions, though perhaps few in number, who fear the Lord and walk in His ways (Psalm 119:6363I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts. (Psalm 119:63)).
Blameless and Without Rebuke
Jacob and his family were ready to settle down and dwell with these Hivites, marrying with them too, but God did not allow it. However, the means which He used to prevent it and make them move on to Bethel were very sad and dishonoring to His Name. It was only the goodness and grace of God which kept the nations around from cutting them off. It is a bad thing when the evil things which our enemies say about us are true; but it is all right as long as their evil reports are false. Many of our troubles as Christians come from our mean, in­considerate, and thoughtless ways. How different it was with Daniel. Even his enemies had to admit that there was no error or fault in him except that he trusted in the Lord. May this be true of us! Let us be sure that those at school or at work cannot say that we are unfair, discourteous, or mean. If they hate us because we are true to Christ and confess His Name, then God tells us to “rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:1212Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (Matthew 5:12)).
Full Obedience
“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.” Jacob had built an altar in a city of Shechem, but God wanted him in Bethel. Don’t we often do things which we know to be wrong and then try to quiet our consciences by thinking that as long as we are regular at the meetings, everything will be all right? We are something like Jacob, trying to content ourselves in a place like Shechem, when we know God wants full obedience. And yet how gracious of the Lord to speak to Jacob at this time. Oh, that we were more willing to hear His voice, for He speaks to us even when we are careless in our ways.
God not only wanted Jacob to go up to Bethel but to dwell there. He reminded him, too, of how He had ap­peared to him there twenty years previously, for God had not changed even though Jacob had.
Further Meditation
1. What did God tell Jacob to do in Bethel?
2. How does God sometimes uproot us from where we feel comfortable to get us to move closer to Himself? What did God use in Moses’ life to get him to leave the court of Pharaoh?
3. You can find out more about the meaning of Bethel by looking it up in the Concise Bible Dictionary by G. Morrish.