Walking in His Ways

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Genesis 34:1-35:1
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 119:63).
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 5:12).
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.