Genesis 35:1:1: A new beginning.
“Then God said to Jacob, “Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build an altarthere to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.” NIV
This is what we didn’t see when Jacob went to live near Shechem. There was no clear direction from God on that occasion, as far as we can see. But now there was. (By the way, this word from God came immediately after an episode which was not Jacob’s finest hour. Such manifestations of God’s presence do not come because we deserve them. They don’t mean we are especially good people-or that we are spiritual giants. They do show the graciousness of God).
As I read this today my heart says anew, ‘Lord, please guide my steps. Don’t let me take a decision out of your will.’
Of course, in life we have to think things through. We regularly must choose, make decisions. But I want to go into each day committing my way to God; telling Him that I want Him to rule, and overrule, in all my decisions. Otherwise I may find myself living near Shechem, causing all kinds of problems for others, as well as for myself.
God was reminding Jacob of his experience at Bethel and the promises he had made at the time (28:10-22). ‘As many as God loves he will remind of neglected duties, one way or other, by conscience or by providences.’ Matthew Henry