God was about to renew the covenant with Jacob, so Jacob tells everyone in his household to "put away the foreign gods among you." It seems that idolatry was an ongoing presence from nearly the beginning. I recall in an earlier reading that Rachel had stolen her father's idols when then left home.
I wonder why Jacob did not destroy them? Why did he bury them under a tree where they could be dug back up at a future time?
But aren't I like this sometimes? There is something that I know I need to let go out of my life, but I don't do it completely. I leave the door cracked. I bury it rather than burn in. I tuck it away out of sight, but I don't smash it. Why is this? Do I not really believe that I can be content without it? If so, do I not realize that this is Satan's lie? After all, he is the one that convinced Adam and Eve that taking what they should not have would make them wise and open their eyes. Can I not learn a lesson from this?
How do I convince others in my life to let go if I do not completely let go? We all need to let go of that secret sin, of underlying grudges, of anger, pride and self-righteous judgmentalism. These are the sorts of things that destroy marriages, jobs, families, and congregations. If I am truly going to destroy these things, I need to bring them to him in prayer, then truly destroy them, not bury them where I can dig them back up later.
Lord help me to completely destroy the idols in my life. Help me to truly let go of the desire to get even. Help me to destroy the anger, grudges, and pride that harm myself and those whom I love. Help me to see that I do not need these things. As you were patient with Jacob, you have been patient with us. Thank you for your mercy and patience.