Fresh starts can be fraught with new problems, because “wherever you go, there you are”

Read the Bible in a Year. Get the FREE printable worksheet and a link to the professional printed workbook by clicking on the image.
Read the Bible in a Year. Get the FREE printable worksheet and a link to the professionally printed workbook by clicking on the image.

The most important message I picked up from today’s readings overall is fresh starts can be fraught with new problems, because “wherever you go, there you are.”

My primary take-away from each of the passages was this:

  • Genesis 33, 34  – Fresh starts can be fraught with new problems, because “wherever you go, there you are.”
  • Matthew 17 – The only way to prolong “holy moments” is to stay present in those moments. As soon as we remove our focus from the now, the “holy moment” disappears.
  • Psalms 17 – My faith in God is my protection and he drives away my enemies when I cry out.
  • Proverbs 17 – The trials I endure may feel like a fiery furnace, but their purpose is to cleanse me of impurities (dross) and make me stronger (God’s strength).

In today’s reading through Genesis, Jacob leaves his uncle’s camp and heads back toward his mother’s country. He knows he’ll likely run into his brother, and he expects Esau to hold a grudge and try to kill him for hoodwinking him out of his birthright. So he hatches a plan to appease his brother, seek his forgiveness, and also have a backup plan to skedaddle in another direction, just in case. His worries seem unfounded because like the father of the prodigal son in one of Jesus’ stories, it appears that Esau has mellowed out, forgiven Jacob, and is simply glad to see him.

Jacob moves on toward Shechem and sets up a camp there. He strikes a deal with the local sheik and gets some land outside of the town. On a visit to the town, his only daughter is raped by the sheik’s son. Times and customs being what they were, the sheik pays the bride price for her so his son can make her his wife. This seems to satisfy Jacob but Dinah’s brothers are enraged and take revenge by killing all the males in the town. Apparently the apples didn’t fall far from the tree, for they are every bit as conniving as Jacob is–after making a deal for peace, they go back on their word.

Jacob’s entourage packs up and leaves, and they go wandering for a new home, again.

It seems that everywhere that Jacob goes deception and potential disaster follows. Why? Because Jacob keeps doing the same thing the same way for the same reasons. He says he trusts God, but he makes his own plans and arrangements, just in case.

I confess that I’m a bit this way. I have backup plans for my backup plans; contingencies upon contingencies…just in case. I know I should trust God. I want to trust God. But I can’t seem to do it until I have absolutely no other choice and I have no control over a situation.

My favorite sales, motivation, and top performance trainer was a man named Zig Ziglar. He had a saying that is particularly apt for this passage:

“If you want to be successful in life at anything, find someone who is successful at that and do what they did. Because they got what they got doing what they did, and you got what you got doing what you did, and if you want to keep on getting what you’ve been getting, then just keep on doing what you’ve been doing.”–Zig Ziglar

At this juncture in the Genesis story, Jacob hasn’t yet figured out that he keeps getting what he’s been getting because he keeps doing what he’s been doing. Even when he seems to learn a lesson, he has a difficult time getting his sons to follow suit.

So, how is what you’ve been doing working for you? Do you keep getting the same results you’ve always gotten because you’re too stubborn to make the necessary changes? I ask myself this all the time. I am continuously re-evaluating my circumstances and the results I create to see how I’m doing (especially when things aren’t going well). I confess I’m a slow learner, but I do make the changes….eventually.

What’s not working for you? How could you change it? What if changing it right now would instantly give you better results? What have you got to lose?

That’s what I got out of it. What did you get out of the readings today?

You can join the discussion in the comments, below; or you can join us in our private Facebook group that I set up specifically for sharing what we take-away from the readings each day.

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