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
Jacob is ‘set apart’ by his father and instructed not to marry anyone outside of his faith. He is still young and cannot know how easily wrong companions will corrupt his faith in God. Isaac doesn’t just ask Jacob to comply, he commands it. A command will protect him when he’s ignorant of the consequences.
The company I keep has long-term effects on me, and eventually, everyone close to me. When I am impacted by someone else’s influence, for the good and for the bad, it leaks out into all my relationships. Children, spouses, friends, and people I serve in business and ministry, will all feel the repercussions of my alliances.
God made us to interact with one another. 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, then unwrapped them, they would be as I last handled them. But put two people together in the same space for a week and they will have been impacted by the other person.
I consider how easily relationships form. An act of kindness, a gift given, or attention bestowed; can capture another’s heart. Their guard will come down. Oh, how easily Jacob could have fallen for a Canaanite woman. It might have taken only one soft encounter. Isaac knew that 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 invite to live close be those who encourage me to love Jesus more. May I be willing to take a careful step back from alliances that were made in haste and made foolishly. The long-term effect on me and my descendants depends on both intentional choices.
I consider all your commands in a new light today. Amen