podcast

#284 – Stopping Short (Genesis 33:18–20)

Pray The Word
Genesis
33
18-20
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“And Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, on his way from Paddan Aram, and he camped before the city. And from the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, he bought for 100 pieces of money the piece of land on which he had pitched his tent. There he erected an altar and called it El Elohe Israel.”
(Genesis 33:18-20)

Now what’s interesting about these verses and why I share them now is because Jacob, when he was leaving his home, he camped at Beth-El, Bethel, the house of God. That’s where he had the dream with the ladder, the angels going up and down on it. God revealed himself to Jacob. God gave him promises, and Jacob said, “I am going to come back eventually to this land. I’m going to set up my family here and call this the house of God.” That’s what Beth-El means.

See the danger of stopping short of what God has called you to do. Let’s pray that God will open our eyes to areas of our lives where we are tolerating sin.

Now what’s interesting is, years later Jacob has gone all the way to Laban, he’s found obviously for himself wives, family. He’s come back and he’s 20 miles short of Beth-El and he stops at this city of Shechem. He pitched his tent there and he sets up an altar. He basically stops 20 miles short, like just short of where he had said he would come back to. What happens after this? Just as chapter 34 is horrible, like his daughter is abused and mistreated. His sons become murderers. We’ll look at that in Genesis chapter 34. All kinds of horrible things happen in Shechem as Jacob stops just 20 miles short of where God had told him to go and where he had told he would go.

I share that just to illustrate here what happens when we compromise. When I look at my own life and I see a tendency to stop just short of what God is telling me to do, to say, “Oh, this is not a big deal over here or there”, and the problem is once we stop a little bit short then we can grow content with stopping a little bit shorter, a little bit shorter and a little bit shorter. Before we know it we are diving into all kinds of sin and experiencing the effects of that sin, just like Jacob did in Genesis chapter 34 when it all started with stopping just short.

I just want to encourage you to look at your life right now. As we pray, let’s just ask God to expose any area of our lives, any areas in our lives where we are stopping even just a little short of what he’s calling us to.

God, please open our eyes. Help us to see any areas of compromise in our lives right now with our thoughts, with our desires, with our words, in our relationships. God in our use of possessions are we doing with our money all that you’ve called us to do with our money, with our time. Are we spending our time how you have called us to spend our time? When it comes to sharing the gospel, God are we sharing the gospel as you’ve called us to share the gospel? Are we stopping just short in any of these ways and so many other ways? When it comes to purity and holiness, God are we almost making excuses for sin, rationalizing it, saying, “Oh, it’s not that big a deal”? God, help us never to think that about sin.

God, we pray that you would expose any, every area of our life where there is compromise right now and you would help us to live in a wholehearted obedience to you, help us to repent of our sin and even compromise towards sin. Help us to run from it and help us to do all that you have called us to do. Help us to experience all that you have called us to experience. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and president of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, and Counter Culture.
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