After crossing into Canaan, Jacob settled his family near Shechem, the first town they came to. Naturally the Shechemites expected Jacob’s family to share their culture and religion, to intermarry, and especially to increase their manpower and wealth.
The result was disastrous. Even though Jacob was back in Canaan, even though he had escaped from Laban and had been reconciled with Esau, the inheritance God had promised him was being compromised.
Then God spoke to Jacob; “Make your home in Bethel, where I appeared when you were running from your brother Esau, and build an altar for me.“Jacob’s entire household would have to purify themselves, including Rachel, who had stolen Laban’s gods.
It took courage for Jacob to confront the firm traditions of family and servants; “Get rid of your foreign gods. Make yourselves acceptable to worship one God.” The impact on other tribes and Jacob’s household was pervasive. No one dared to attack their slow-moving caravan as they headed south toward Bethel, protected only by the Most High God. Truly God was with Jacob wherever he went just as God had promised him twenty years earlier.
Lord, deliver me from the temptation to imitate people around me. Teach me to trust you with my whole heart. Amen.