“To be clear, in the Christian calculus, humanity is treasured, priceless, and destined for glory. We are created in God’s image. We are endowed with fellowship and invited into eternal rest. But we have squandered our inheritance by seeking to be God. We have pitched our tents in the shadow of Shechem.”- Max Lucado
“After Jacob came from Paddan Aram, he arrived safely at the city of Shechem in Canaan and camped within sight of the city.”- Genesis 33:18 (NIV)
In Chapter 10 (“In the Shadow of Shechem”) of God Never Gives Up on You, Max Lucado points out a hard to miss warning found in Genesis 33. This warning: Don’t settle for Shechem when the blessing is in Bethel.
Therefore, God supplied Jacob with a singular itinerary: journey to Bethel. No layover or instruction to stop short of the destination. So far Jacob already covered five hundred miles since leaving Laban. Only twenty miles remained. But Jacob stopped short!
At the time, the area of Shechem comprised about six acres, enclosed by city walls. Between five hundred and one thousand people lived there. In addition, Shechem served as a commercial center at the crossroads of trade routes.
Consequently, Jacob once again was, as Max puts it, so Jacob. That same amnesia of God once more caused Jacob to think only of himself. Therefore, Pastor Lucado cautions in this fundamental message:
“When God is not sought, when the new nature is suppressed, when society submits to on one higher than self, the result is chaos. . . . we break hearts, homes, covenants, and promises. We create a poisoned system . . . where people suppress their better selves and ride on the backs of others. It is one that awards power and force and downplays kindness and grace. Toxic cultures generate tribes and thrive on distrust.”
Hence, Max reminds us not to pitch our tents in the shadow of Shechem. For the blessing awaits in Bethel.
Today’s question: By seeking to be God, how have we squandered our inheritance? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “A ladder lowered in the wilderness”