Going Home Again – 2

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Scripture Text – Genesis 35-36

Being a victorious Christian doesn’t mean escaping the difficulties of life and enjoying only carefree days. Rather, it means walking with God by faith, knowing that He is with us, and trusting Him to help us for our good and His glory no matter what difficulties He permits to come our way. The maturing Christian doesn’t pray, “How can I get out of this?” but “What can I get out of this?”

Let’s continue with the new things that came into Jacob’s life.

A New Start – Continued

Please read Genesis 35:1-15 for the background to this section.

God protected Jacob and his household. After the murderous assault on the Shechemites by Simeon and Levi, Jacob was afraid the people of the land would attack him (Genesis 34:30), but God kept His promise (Genesis 28:15) and cared for Jacob and his people as they moved toward Bethel (Psalm 105:7–15). This same “terror of God” went before Israel as they journeyed to Canaan, and prepared the way for their conquest of the land (Exodus 15:14–16; Deuteronomy 2:24–25; Joshua 2:8–14). When God’s people are doing God’s will in God’s way, they can depend on God’s provision and protection (Isaiah 41:10, 14; 43:1–5; 44:2, 8). When we fear God with an awe-inspiring attitude, we need fear no one else.

Jacob worshipped God. God had promised to bring Jacob safely back to Bethel (again, Genesis 28:15), and He kept His promise, as He always does (Joshua 21:45; 23:14; 1 Kings 8:56). Jacob kept his part of the agreement by building an altar and leading his household in worshiping the Lord. Once again, Jacob gave a new name to an old place. “Luz” he had renamed “Bethel, the house of God” (Genesis 28:19); and now “Bethel” he expanded to become “El Bethel” which translated means, “the God of Bethel.” It wasn’t the place that was important but the God of the place, and, what He had done for Jacob.

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The Jewish people considered many places to be special because of what God had done for them there, places like Bethel, Mount Sinai, Jerusalem, the Jordan River, and Gilgal. Perhaps all of us have places that are especially meaningful to us because of spiritual experiences we had there, but a “holy site” must never take the place of the Holy God. To visit a special location and try to recapture old blessings is to live in the past. Let’s ask God, in His grace and mercy, for new blessings and a new revelation of Himself!

We don’t know when Rebekah’s maid Deborah (Genesis 24:59) became a part of Jacob’s household, but her presence in the camp suggests that Jacob’s mother was now dead. Deborah had stayed with Isaac until Jacob drew near to Hebron, and then she went to be with the boy she had helped to raise years before. Was she the one who broke the news to Jacob that Rebekah was dead? Jacob’s tender treatment of this elderly servant is an example for all of us to follow.

God appeared to Jacob. In his first Bethel experience, Jacob had seen God and the angels in a dream (Genesis 28:12), but now the Lord appeared to him in some special way and blessed him. God reaffirmed Jacob’s new name “Israel” and His own name “God Almighty” (El-Shaddai; Genesis 17:1; 28:3; 43:14; 48:3; 49:25). He also reaffirmed the promises concerning the multiplying of Jacob’s descendants and their possessing the land, assuring Jacob that nations and kings would be among his descendants. At that time, Jacob had only eleven sons, but God would give him one more son and abundantly bless all of them and increase their number.

As he had done years before at Bethel, Jacob set up a pillar and dedicated it to the Lord (Genesis 28:18). He not only poured oil on the pillar, but he also poured out a drink offering of wine. The drink offering was a supplement to the regular sacrifices and was poured out on the altar as the sacrifice was burning (Exodus 29:40–41; Numbers 6:17; 15:5–10, 24; 29:22–38). It was a symbol of dedication, the worshiper’s life poured out for the Lord (2 Samuel 23:16; Philippians 2:17).

Jacob’s restoration was now complete. He was back in the place of God’s choosing; he had offered himself and his sacrifices to the Lord; the Lord had spoken to him; and the covenant promises had been reaffirmed. He had come from the house of Laban to the house of God; and though he still had much to learn about his walk with the Lord, Jacob was starting to be “Israel” and live like a prince instead of a pauper.

To Be Continued

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Adapted and modified excerpts from Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Authentic, “Be” Commentary Series.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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