Part 12 of the Present day Patriarchs series.
Genesis 33:17 – And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.
Jacob is the 1st patriarch to build a house for his family. When I studied this passage of scripture, I was surprised to find most commentators condemned Jacob over this action. I commend him for it.
Years of traveling from place to place without any real structure or stability will definitely wear on a man. That is the life Jacob has lived and enjoyed. But his family is rapidly expanding. The trail has gone cold. It’s time for his family to have a house that is a home.
I’m not condemning the tent-life (my next blog is about that); I am advocating the need for a house.
What a house brings to the family is needful: structure, stability, rhythm, and a home.
Children adapt so well to various environments we tend to view them as indestructible. However, they develop best when they have structure. Building them a house gives them this structure. Having a room to keep clean and a bed to make, believe it or not is beneficial to the growth of character. The list of chores, the scheduled meals, curfews, etc; bring a framework to the family. This structure is important.
Note how the cattle have booths. Jacob is organizing his household, placing the priority on his children, but also showing he values the cattle. Take care of your children first of all, but don’t neglect your cattle. It’s no wonder Jacob’s children were shepherds; they recognized the value their father placed on their substance.
The foundations were no doubt dug deep. The house was built to last. They now had a home base to work out of. The word that comes to mind here is stability. Stability is very necessary for children. Do your children have some factors in their life which will always remain constant? Do they have a home? Do they have one church they attend and serve at? Are you, as their parents, there for them? Is your attitude and temperament always changing? Do you have a discipline philosophy which is well regulated? Children who know there are some things in their lives which don’t change are children who have peace and assurance.
Having a house brings rhythm. This includes your daily routines, schedule, meal times, chores, game nights, etc. Teaching your children how to get along with others, how to respect and honor their parents, and how to handle conflict: are all part of your families’ rhythm. Make sure this is a rhythm that has a rhyme to it.
Making this house a home is of vital importance. Love, acceptance, forgiveness, and discipline; are words which come to mind. I have been in plenty of houses which weren’t homes. What has attracted buyers to certain houses was the homely atmosphere they felt when they did their walk thru. Only to find out later what made the house so comforting and inviting was the people who lived in it. Is your house something your kids want to come back to? Do you have family traditions you refuse to cancel? Is there camaraderie and connection?
I applaud Jacob for making this house a priority. This house became a home.
Build a house:
1. Does your family need more structure?
2. How safe do your children feel?
3. What have you done to ensure your children will grow into responsible adults?
4. Do you celebrate national holidays? What kind of family traditions do you have?
5. Do you attend and support a local church? How committed are you to that church?
6. Are there some things you want to institute in your family that your father didn’t bring to yours?
7. Do you make meal time a priority? Do you talk around the table?
8. Do you have special game night? Do you have family devotions?