They feared Abraham’s God
Jacob and his camp tried to be different from all the other tribes that lived in Canaan, they intended to believed in only one God and tried to live differently, they were not accepted of the people around them; however, the Canaanites feared Abraham’s God, now the God of Jacob.
Distress and fear
Jacob and his camp were in distress and in terrible fear, as we can see in the outcry of Jacob after Simeon and Levi had killed all the male in the city of Shechem, “Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have ruined me, making me a stench to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites! My men are few in number, and the men of the land will band together against me and attack me; I shall be destroyed, I and my household”
God filled his heart
Jacob saw the disaster coming, he was deeply depressed, and I think his heart was screaming out, God, YaHaWaH, where are you? When we are in trouble, to who or where to do we turn, what is in our heart? God filled the heart of Jacob, He occupied his inner thoughts and then God came and told him what to do, He said, “Go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from Esau your brother”
He looked the other way
Bethel was not far from Shechem; however, it was about 330 meters higher. Even so, the surrounding tribes could easily pursue attack and destroy Jacob there. In fact, it was impossible for him to escape the Canaanites that populated the whole land. Jacob was not a strong leader, he was swaying with the wind, and he believed in his God, his camp however believed in several Gods, Jacob had for 20 years just looked the other way, instead of cleaning up and demand holiness in his camp.
Foreign gods, not false gods
Now he knew that God was present, and he gave the order he should have given many years ago, “Get rid of the foreign gods that are among you, and ceremonially purify yourselves and change clothes”. Jacob knew that YaHaWaH was the God that protected him, however, he believed that other gods existed too, only that his God was mightier than all the other gods were, and that YaHaWaH was able to protect his huge camp. May be Jacob earlier believed that he needed more than one God; he called them foreign gods, not false gods. Now however he decided to please his God and he took all the charms, all the idols from the people and buried them under an oak tree near Shechem.
Then God acted too
Then every man, woman and child in the whole camp had washed themselves and changed clothes, they left their idols and rings under an oak tree, they were clean and ready to walk with the God of Jacob, YaHaWaH. They all knew his name, and in their obedience, they were holy in front of God. Jacob and all his camp now left for Bethel up in the mountains, they did what God told them, they acted on the word of God and then God acted too. “As they journeyed, there was a great terror on the cities around them, and the Canaanites did not pursue the sons of Jacob” What we need is not to be smart or strong, we need Jesus, and not only in distress, but also in our everyday life we need Jesus to avoid distress and emergency situations.
- What fills your heart?
- How do thoughts creep into our heart?
- What is deciding our doings?
- Is TV your friend or enemy?
- Do we need news?