HOW OTHERS ERODE OUR FAITH
Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and directed him, “You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women. Arise, go to Paddan-aram to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father, and take as your wife from there one of the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother.” Genesis 28:1-2
Here is an act of sanctification before the word was ever used in scripture. Isaac is ‘set apart’ by his father and told to protect his spiritual line by declining to marry anyone outside his faith. He was still fairly young and could not know how easily wrong company could corrupt faith in God. In his naiveté, Isaac commanded. Commands protect us when we’re ignorant of consequences.
I’m not sure I ever fully understand how the company I keep has long-term effects on me, and eventually, everyone close to me. When I am changed by someone’s influence, for the good and for the bad, it leaks out into all my relationships. Children, spouses, friends, people I serve in business and ministry, all will feel the good and bad repercussions of my alliances.
God made humans to interact with each other and, in the course of relationship, affect each other. This doesn’t happen with inanimate objects. If I wrapped a knife and fork together in a napkin, put them in a drawer for 10 years and then unwrapped them, they would emerge the same. Put two people together in the same space for even a year and they will have changed from the influence of the other.
I consider how easily relationships form. An act of kindness, a gift given, attention bestowed; these can capture another’s heart. Someone’s guard is let down. Oh, how easily Jacob could have fallen for a Canaanite woman. It might have taken only one soft encounter. Isaac knew and sent him away from all temptation.
Life is a series of course corrections. I draw close to some and pull away from others. May those I pull near be those who encourage me in my fight for faith. May I be willing (outside of immediate family) to take a careful step back from any alliance that was made in haste and in foolishness. The long-term effect on my faith and my descendants depends on both intentional choices.
I consider all your commands in a new light today. They are out to protect me from what I can not see in the future. Amen
Journal Question: Consider one bad relationship from your past or even in your present life. Ask God to give you wisdom as you trace the steps that led you to trust them. Make a thorough list of all consequences and see what God teaches you about yourself and your future choices.