Meditate on Genesis 35:1 “Then God said to Jacob, ‘Go up to Bethel and settle there and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.'”
God has not forgotten His promise to Jacob even though it seemed Jacob had forgotten about Him. God comes to Jacob with a new direction and a reminder of how God was faithful in appearing to Jacob the last time he was fleeing in fear from Esau.
The family’s consequences to doing things their own way and a word from the Lord was just what Jacob needed to get back in flow with God’s will and plan. He demands his family purge themselves of the foreign gods and they head to Bethel as God commanded.
Upon arrival, Jacob loses Rebekah’s nurse who had come with his mother when she married Isaac. He also loses his beloved wife Rachel while she’s giving birth to his final son Benjamin. After much hardship, but this time paired with the presence of the Lord, Jacob lands in Mamre the land of his fathers. He arrives just in time to see his father’s full life come to completion and lay him to rest alongside his brother Esau.
God grabs ahold of Jacob and redirects him right before a series of deaths and more hardship are on the horizon. As we can see from this chapter and the previous, a life of hardship is guaranteed. However, God’s presence equips us with protection, strength, and endurance so that we can walk in step with His will. And when we are in step with Him we can be present where those we love will need us.
Prayer: God thank you that you are faithful to redirect me when I stray from you. Thank you that you know what lies ahead for me and for the people that I love. You direct my steps so that I can rest in your presence and be present for those that need me. God help me to trust you with that truth. In Jesus’ name amen.
What does this chapter teach us about hardship on our journey with God?
How do the hardships in this chapter contrast from chapter 34 hardships?
What do we learn about how God makes our hardships matter from these two chapters?
Think about a time God directed you to a certain place at a certain time. Why was it not only beneficial for you to be obedient but also for those around you?
Memorize Proverbs 16:9 “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord directs their steps.”