What is it with the strange idols (images) the people had collected?
Jacob had to redirect everyone's attention once again to the One True God.
It seems so foolish to have all these idols. Jacob said we are going to build an altar and remember how the Lord appeared to us, blessed us, guided us through many adversities. He is our God, not these trinkets you have picked up along the way.
Really, when you get down to it, it is not so hard to understand how we can get distracted from what is really most important. We see all around us people who get caught up in what kind of car they drive, how much money they make or their position in society. The inside label of their clothing or exclusive store they shop in becomes a preoccupation. An athletic event or recreation becomes preeminent in there mind over the great "feast God has prepared for them in the House of Prayer (altar)".
When you think about that way, these things become the trinkets (idols) that are so easy to collect. To realize (as Jacob reminded those with him) the trinkets of this world are not worth our worship. We know people in the world that have built there life entirely around these materialistic pursuits.
There is nothing like entering the House of God and laying it all on the altar. To lift up His Name and say in our hearts "it is you, Lord, you are most important, you are my God......I lay these trinkets on the altar for you are my healer, comforter and Savior, not these things."
1 And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.
2 Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments:
3 And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.
4 And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.
5 And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.
6 So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him.
7 And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother.
8 But Deborah Rebekah's nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allonbachuth.
9 And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him.
10 And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel.
11 And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;
12 And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.
13 And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him.
14 And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon.
15 And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel.
16 And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour.
17 And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also.
18 And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.
19 And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.
20 And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day.
21 And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar.
22 And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve:
23 The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun:
24 The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin:
25 And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid; Dan, and Naphtali:
26 And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid; Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padanaram.
27 And Jacob came unto Isaac his father unto Mamre, unto the city of Arbah, which is Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac sojourned.
28 And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years.
29 And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.
The enemy has so many snares and distractions more than ever. We always need to keep our hearts close to God. Sometimes the trinkets are so disguised that we don't even realize that we are putting other things first. I pray that God gives us the insight, revelation, and the direction to know when it may be happening!
This is sadly so true of our society today and even sadder it has been true in my life at times. Thank you for the reminder that if I am focusing on these trinkets my attention is in the wrong place!