“What have you two done? Everybody’s going to gang up on us and destroy us in no time.” Jacob fell back in his chair.
Levi stepped forward. “We are not going to let any man treat our baby sister like a piece of trash to be used for his pleasure.”
Simeon grabbed Levi’s shoulder. “The men of Shechem had to pay for their indecent act. If we let them get away with it everyone else will do the same to us. They had it coming to them.”
Levi shrugged his shoulders. “Besides, what’s done is done. We’ll deal with the consequences when they come.”
When Jacob thought about what must have happened, first to his daughter, then to the men of Shechem, he fell forward with his face in his hands as tears filled his palms.
Simeon and Levi walked away.
As Jacob paced in his tent that night God spoke to him. “Return to Bethel and build an altar to Me. Remember your vow when you fled from Esau.”
He gathered everyone around for a family meeting the following morning. “We must move south now. The God who met me at Bethel told me to return there and build an altar to Him. Purify yourselves and change your clothes. Bring all the foreign gods to me now.”
Jacob was shocked at the size of the pile when he hid all the gold under a tree. His own wives had as much as the women from Shechem did.
Jacob dismounted his camel and limped up the hill to the pillar he erected over twenty years earlier. He stared at the sky where he dreamed the ladder filled with angels was that night.
When he finished stacking stones for the altar Joseph brought a rock over and tossed it on the pile. Jacob smiled as he patted his son’s head. He poured oil on the altar before they made camp at the base of the hill.
That night, Deborah, the woman who helped raise Jacob, died in her sleep. Jacob mourned the passing of that generation’s impact.
God appeared to Jacob in his tent. “I am God Almighty. You shall no longer be called Jacob. Israel is now your name. A mighty nation shall come from you. As I gave this land to Abraham and Isaac I now give it to you and your descendants.”
While Israel’s family traveled farther south to live in Hebron Rachel went into labor. They stopped to await the arrival of the newest family member. When Benjamin took his first breath Rachel took her last one.
Sometimes God has to do terrible things to get someone’s attention to get them to change.
Jacob, the schemer, told his brother they would come to him at a slower pace. When he detoured and bought land from the folks near Shechem a tragic turn of events cost his only daughter her virginity and the men of the village their lives.
The deaths of the woman who helped rear him and his first love would drive the point of passing the point of no return home to this strong-willed man.
God even faced him and reiterated the name change to Israel to get His point across yet again.
The building of an altar by that pillar from the dream of angels and God would help solidify the whole ordeal.
Unfortunately, this would be far from the last of Jacob’s trials from God.
How has God attempted to get your attention to make changes?
It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re living out of God’s will when these changes occur. It simply means God is molding you to use you in a great way.
Count yourself blessed when God chips away at you to use you in a special way.
Very few individuals are close enough to God for such service.
People who have lost loved ones to death know grief in a way others can only guess at.
When a spouse leaves you after promising to stay till only death separates you a recognition of how God feels when someone walks away from Him ensues.
The betrayal of a close friend helps you see how deeply Jesus loves even those who betrayed Him.
Don’t despise these unfair treatments. Embrace them as gifts from your heavenly Father to nurture you into His special instrument of love to those who hurt deeply.
When God told Jacob to return to his pillar the first thing Jacob did was forbid all false gods to travel with him any further.
Take a close look at what’s keeping you from a more intimate relationship with God.
Are there toxic friendships destroying your relationship with your spouse or God?
Is your loyalty to a sports team distracting you from worshiping God on Sunday morning?
Do compromises at work whittle away at your moral standards?
Call your false gods what they are and bury them. Then walk away into a fresh future.
There were some practical reasons for the tragedy at Shechem.
The women Jacob’s sons took from there would become the wives of the twelve sons to propagate the great nation during their 400 years in Egypt.
The land purchased became the pasture Joseph searched for his brothers at only to be told they went farther north. That began another molding of a great leader in Israel’s history.
A fear of these men’s God took hold in Canaan after these teenagers wiped out an entire village. Their god must have been better than the god of Canaan.
God is molding you into a special instrument, my friend.
You have unique talents and experiences to be used in remarkable ways.
You may not lead a nation, but you may impact someone who will.
Everything that happens to you occurs for a reason.
That reason may not become known to you in this life.
Trust your heavenly Father to know what’s best for you.
He has a plan that involves you to further His kingdom.
Embrace your trials to become more like Jesus.
I’ll see you later. Wade