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  • Jonathan Painter

Don't Wait Too Late


Jacob was one of the founding fathers of Israel. In fact, he is the one whose name God changed to Israel when he wrestled with the Angel of the Lord. He had four wives, two of which were sisters. His wives bore him twelve sons and one daughter collectively. Together these eighteen souls made up what is probably known as the most dysfunctional family in the Bible.

One who reads the story of Jacob will find a man who was consumed with his business and would eventually become wealthy. He knew how to work, he had worked for everything that he had including his wives. However, his work somewhat disconnected him from his family for he completely lost control of his household.

I believe that one of the main reasons that Jacob had such a dysfunctional household is because he waited too long to lead them to have a relationship with God. He himself had experienced a revival at Bethel, but it took him over twenty years to lead his family to the place where he met that place where he met with God.

I believe that in those twenty years that he himself maintained at least somewhat of a relationship with God, but his house was full of idols to false gods. Finally, after more than twenty years Jacob had had enough. After God instructed Him to go to Bethel, Jacob came to his family and gave them charge. “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:” (Genesis 35:2) He charged them to dispose of their idols, to clean themselves up, and to change the way they dressed. Jacob had met with the Lord and now he was ready to take charge of his house. He took charge of the direction of their spiritual condition by removing the idols. He took charge of the condition of their living by telling them to be clean. He took charge of condition of their appearance by telling them to change their garments.

As husbands and fathers, we have been given a mandate to lead our homes as the Lord leads us. “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” (Ephesians 5:23) The husband is the head of the wife and together they are supposed to lead the home. However, ultimately the responsibility of leadership falls to the husband. The Scriptures tell us, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (I Timothy 5:8) We often think of this verse in terms of physical provisions like housing and food, but this also applies to leadership. The husband and father of the home ought to be leading in his family’s spiritual condition, living condition, and condition of their appearance.

Sadly, in Jacob’s case he waited too long. The influences around his family had a negative impact on His family and while he wanted to take charge when he led them back to Bethel, we find that his family was just as dysfunctional when he left Bethel as when he came.

If we wait too long to provide the leadership that our family needs, we lose our influence with them and we will be unable to lead them as we should. I think of my own children, they are very young, and it is easy to lead them at this stage. However, I need to stay on top of how I lead them now, or I will lose them when they are older. I must not wait too long to lead my family in their spiritual condition, their living condition, and the condition of their appearance. If we wait too long, we will lose the next generation.

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