saj shafique vm4kdj xrpm unsplash

A Terror From God Fell

Genesis 35:5 (ESV) -- And as they journeyed, a terror from God fell upon the cities that were around them, so that they did not pursue the sons of Jacob.

There is always more going on behind what meets the eye. What you see is not always telling the full story about why you see it. That is never more true than when it comes to the things happening in the world. Behind the moving parts, from the greatest things to the smallest things, the hand of the Lord is at work. He does not simply watch the events of the world unfold as a passive observer. He is orchestrating the events of this world like a conductor leading a piece of music. All of it is heading somewhere.

Our passage today is one of those passages that gives us a glimpse of this reality. It is a peek behind the curtain. It says, “As they journeyed, a terror from God fell upon the cities that were around them, so that they did not pursue the sons of Jacob.”  If you were present the day this happened, what you would have seen with your eyes were people afraid of Jacob and his family. But why? 

God had instructed Jacob to leave where he was and go to the place he told him to go. As Jacob travels with his family, livestock, and possessions, they are a target for anyone who wanted to attack them. But nobody attacks. Why? Because our text tells us that a terror from God fell on the cities that were around them. In other words, the Lord protected them by putting a fear in the hearts of the people. They were scared of Jacob and his family, not because of their greatness or numbers, but because God put it there. 

Our passage today shows us something that simply watching unfold we wouldn’t know. But this is significant for us to see. It shows us God’s meticulous care for His people. It shows us that He is not passive, but active in the world. We find comfort knowing we are not left to the whims of those around us. We are in the hands of God, and He can protect us and provide for us what we need. Rejoice in the God who can put terror in the hearts of men to spare His children. Ask Him to lead, protect, and guide you today. Find peace in His sovereign hand.

Reflection & Journal:
- Why do you think God reveals His unseen actions in passages like this?
- How does a text like this comfort you and help you in your own life?
- What does a passage like this reveal about the nature of God’s actions in the world?

Sign up to receive our daily devotions in your inbox here!