When Men Dare to Lead – Genesis 35:1-7
Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, was not a perfect individual by any standard. His name identifies him as one who supplants or cheats. With the assistance of his mother, he deceived Isaac, his father, and stole the birthright that would have ordinarily been given to Esau, his older brother. Following this deception and theft, Jacob would obey his father's instructions to leave and find a wife in his mother's homeland.
Upon leaving Jacob spent a night in Luz where he had a dream (Genesis 28:10-22). In this dream, he saw angels descending and ascending a ladder stretching from earth to heaven. Most importantly, in this dream, Jacob received a promise from God, previously given to Abraham and Isaac, that would now be specifically fulfilled through him. Awakening from his sleep, Jacob named the place Bethel meaning the House of God. He also promised God that His divine protection and provision would be sufficient for him to serve God and honor Him with a tenth of his substance.
Jacob in the land to which he traveled would take unto himself four wives who bore him twelve sons (Genesis 29:1 – 30:24). Later, these sons became the fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel. Eventually, Jacob returned to the land of his father and was reconciled with Esau. However, Jacob had failed to honor his earlier promise with God. Later, God would remind Jacob that he had failed to keep the promise made some 20-plus years earlier. Upon this matter being brought to his attention Jacob wisely set about to fulfill his promise and engage his family in its fulfillment.
This misguided conduct of Jacob is mirrored in the lives of many men today. However, when men are made conscious of their failure to honor God, there should be a similar response. Jacob responded by directing his family 1) to put away all false gods, 2) to purify themselves both spiritually and physically, and 3) to worship at the altar in the House of God. As fathers we are imperfect but still, have a responsibility to worship and honor God and direct our families likewise. After honoring God with his promise, Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, meaning “God rules” or “God strives on behalf of.” Let us lead our families such that God rules and strives on our behalf.