Genesis 35:1-3,5,9-13 Then God said to Jacob, “Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.” So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone”… Then they set out, and the terror of God fell upon the towns all around them so that no one pursued them… After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram, God appeared to him again and blessed him. God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.” So he named him Israel. And God said to him, “I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will come from your body. The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.” Then God went up from him at the place where he had talked with him.
Another interesting portion in Jacob’s life was covered today and we are fortunate to be able to journey with him and his family.
There were several aspects that stood out to me but the two I chose were key to my understanding and I pray are helpful in yours too. The first was God’s request of Jacob to build an altar in Bethel and the next was God’s blessing of Jacob.
The question that lingered in my mind was why did Jacob not put away the idols until now?
Promises made to God are best kept and never forgotten. When Jacob ran for his life from Esau’s wrath, he had made a promise to God that he would come back to Bethel and build an altar to God to commemorate God’s faithfulness to him.
Inspite of God’s repeated and continual faithfulness to Jacob, he forgot to make good his promise and had to be reminded by God.
That reminder also served as wake up for Jacob and that is when he decided to put away his old ways and make himself and his household presentable to a good and glorious God who was worth honoring. When Jacob did so, God protected him and his family as they journeyed onwards.
We also get to meet God in the nature of El Shaddai, the almighty God! This was the name God used for himself when He blessed Jacob with his new name, Israel which means ‘God strives’ and comes from the combination of sarah and el.
Amazingly, God came through with His promises both to make Israel the father of a great nation and make him a master of a good land. Through Jacob’s seed, Jesus was born – the promised seed, the first born of all creation, the only son of God, the messiah to all mankind – and the second was heaven, the promised land where all God’s chosen ones would live in His presence for eternity.
We live with the opportunity to serve a faithful and almighty God who has given us the means, the way and has opened the door to Him through His only son, Jesus Christ, who came to save us lost sheep and give us an eternal inheritance that can never be taken away.
I pray today that we would come before this great God and ask for His cleaning of our hearts and lives, that we would live a new and purpose-driven life by serving the Almighty and everlasting God.
Let us find our spiritual identity as God’s chosen people, Israel, and let us live with the purpose of sharing the good news of Jesus to everyone who needs hope.
In His Loving Service,
Joshua 24:15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
If you would like to know about Jesus, then please click here.