READ: Genesis 34-35
THINK: As you may have considered in the previous day's devotion, much of what happens to us is beyond our control. Often, however, we have more sway over our circumstances than we may realize. Many times, this means looking ahead and anticipating the consequences of our decisions. When we make choices that are questionable, reckless, self-serving or in direct defiance of God's commands and principles, we can expect trouble down the road. So consider this: Are you in any way exposing yourself unnecessarily to temptation or spiritual compromise? If so, you may be setting yourself up for a tragic fall. Even worse, you may be opening a door of difficulty and destruction to those closest to you, who look to your example and rely on your influence.
RESPOND: Rather than returning to the land of his father as God had commanded (cf. 31:13; 35:1), Jacob settled instead near Shechem. In what way did he fail his family by settling there? (See 34:1 and 34:2 notes.) What can we learn from this situation about being careless in our relationships and associations? What was wrong with the way Jacob's sons reacted to this tragic situation? (See 34:7 note.) What's the difference between boldly standing up for one's honor and ruthlessly taking revenge? (See 34:25 note.) Is there a difference between justifiable war and needless cruelty? How so?
PRAY: Pray for discretion and discernment regarding your relationships and activities so that all you do honors God and brings you closer to Him.
ACT: If there is any way in which your relationships, associations, conversations or activities are compromising your character or drawing you away from God, make a deliberate decision to break free. Take yourself out of the tempting or compromising situation. Do the same even if you don't feel the negative affects but you suspect that your influence may be misleading others or causing them to slip spiritually.
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