The Bible is by far my favorite book in the world, not for reasons many might imagine though… If you’ve followed my content here all the way
from my Facebook Group, you’d know that most of my lessons in life and business come from this magical book.
Why do I love the Bible? Well… some historical records tend to launder themselves in an effort to appear marketable. This book shows you the good, the bad and the ugly… even the mistakes of some key figures we consider to be heroes. We learn from what they did right, as well as
from their errors in judgement.
Today I’m dredging up a lesson from a critical point in Jacob’s journey. The patriachs of Israel (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) had mostly been nomadic in nature, however, it was God’s intention to move them purposefully along their paths to specific destinations. Jacob currently carried the generational baton and his immediate instruction was to lead his family
to a place called Bethel. After conferring with his wives (Leah and Rachel), he set out on the journey with his entire household.
At some point in the sojourn however, Jacob stopped over in the land of Shechem. This wasn’t a routine stop to rest as he purchased a piece of land there and pitched his tent. Shechem became his home and this decision proved to be a disastrous one.
One day, Jacob’s daughter Dinah went out to see the city. A son of one of the rulers of Shechem saw her and violated her – an abominable act to the Israelites. When Dinah’s brothers heard about it, they were furious. Jacob himself did not say anything. This doesn’t mean that he condoned the crime though. His hands were tied. He was stuck in the helpless quagmire of indecision. A great injustice had been done to his family
and he could do nothing. This was the same Jacob who had just wrestled
an angel of God to a draw, now neutered by mere mortals.
WHY? The same reason his uncle, Laban, was able to maltreat and cheat him for over 14 years…
He was a guest!
This wasn’t God’s original plan for His people. God had told his grandfather, Abraham, to number the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, to give him a glimpse of the grand plans on the horizon. God’s plan was to bring them into a place of not just ownership, but domination.
It was critical that every key player from Abraham to Moses and beyond was on board with the vision. It was critical that he carried himself as an owner – a winner – a conqueror. His father, Isaac, and his grandfather, Abraham, were legends of their time. But here was the current bearer of the vision – squandering the dreams of an entire nation by remaining a houseboy to Laban and now a guest to the Shechemites. He was happy that he had bought a piece of land in the city of Shechem, but God’s plan was for him to establish a whole nation!
Let’s get back to the story. There was no mention of justice by Jacob, and the people of Shechem said nothing of the sort either. Instead, they decided to ask Jacob to marry his daughter to them. When they gathered to deliberate over this, they even said, “Won’t their livestock, their property and all their other animals become ours? So let us agree to their terms, and they will settle among us”
The sons of Jacob considered this to be an outrageous insult BUT… Their father still said nothing… His silence was getting unbearably loud… Eventually, Jacob’s sons took laws into their own hands. They took up arms and hatched a plan to murder the Shechemites and they executed it without their father’s knowledge.
Even this course of action was a terrible one because the Shechemites were not the only ones who lived in that country. If the surrounding cities were to combine their might to avenge the Shechemites, they would vastly outnumber and obliterate Jacob’s small family.
When Jacob realised what his sons had done, he knew what the consequences would be. He had to abandon the piece of land he bought. He kept moving… To where?
Bethel… the place of his original instruction.
What are the learnings here?
When you intentionally dishonour your destiny by trading it in for a lesser designation and reduced responsibility, you drift into situations you cannot control. Your executive options in life are removed.
We are all called to become KINGS AND PRIESTS of our industries, households and society… BUT instead, many have accepted the less demanding roles of houseboy and house guest.
Ownership cannot be outsourced… But I get it… The cost of taking territory frightens many… This is why even though you have a clear vision that you were made to be more, you accepted a smaller role in life so that people won’t criticize you.
You are afraid of public scrutiny and it has made you a tenant to those who are not. You’ve accepted free food and accommodation and let others rule, in the hopes that they’ll just as we say… “use their church mind” and be nice.
You’ve brought your entire life under the rulership of UNRIGHTEOUS bosses, relatives and public figures, in exchange for a lesser role in matters of destiny.
You are a well fed slave, but a slave nonetheless. Joseph was the head of slaves in Potiphar’s house… treated better than others, but he was still thrown into prison… an underling of Potiphar’s justice… Joseph was made the head of prisoners, but he was still forgotten… a victim of a friend’s forgetfulness.
Nelson Mandela’s favourite poem, Invictus, has 2 memorable lines:
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.
When you choose to operate as less than master, captain, king, ruler, emperor, chief priest over your affairs, you give mere mortals power over you.
Like Jacob, it restrains you from responding even when an injustice has been done to you. Your slavish circumstances embolden your adversaries… It makes them feel comfortable disrespecting you. And what can you do when you lack personal power and King-like resources?
The journey to your Kingship begins in accepting your divine destiny as
an architect of civilization. What is the idea in your mind that you let die? What is your true potential that you know in your heart,
but you keep second-guessing. Bringing it to life will come at a cost… But that is what kings do… We pay the cost, plus taxes…
Bringing your destiny to life will attract the envy of peers and the resentment of the mob… It will attract enhanced scrutiny… As kings, we swim in the attention. We don’t fear fire… If it comes, we put it out. Jacob’s mistake was accepting a comfortable, but lesser role – guest of Shechem. It brought his family under the subjection of their wickedness.
Who and what have you made lord over your life just because you fear the cost of being lord yourself?
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.
Step up and accept nothing less.
Wriiten by John Obidi, Founder, Headstart Africa. Connect with him: