Genesis 35:1-4 “1 And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. 2 Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: 3 And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. 4 And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.
When we move from Genesis 34 to 35, we can imagine the atmosphere being like a person living on the streets to living in a mansion. The Lord opens a door that can only be opened with a special key. That key has two words written on it…Faith & Obedience. This key is available for anyone, no matter where you are at in your walk with the Lord. Whether we are on top of the mountain and everything in life is going great, or we are struggling with a trial or a difficult situation. The Lord has this key in His hand, just waiting for us to receive it!
Verse 1: For several years Jacob had lingered some 30 miles from Bethel and had paid dearly for his disobedience. But now the Lord spoke to him and told him to move to Bethel and settle down there. Jacob already knew that Bethel was God’s appointed place for him. (Gen. 31:13 “I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out of this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred” (KJV)). But Jacob was slow to obey what he knew was the right way to go. We know from chapter 31 that God had instructed Jacob what to do and where to go. But like many of us, we all face times when we fail to follow the Lord’s instructions. We know the right thing to do, but we choose to disobey.
Verse 2: Jacob speaks to his entire household; he is so committed to the Lord’s will that he also instructs his servants as well. He tells them to put away the strange gods, be clean, and change your garments. Here is a great picture of salvation, (a) strange gods is our acknowledgement of sin, we are all sinners, (b) be clean is our repentance of our sins, and (c) change your garments is the rebirth into the family of God, putting on a new self. There is always room at the foot of the Cross. I am reminded that no matter where, what, or how we have stumbled in our walk, the Lord is always ready for us to turn back to Him. Jacob provides us with a great picture of the Lord’s mercy, patience, and love towards His children. I am thankful to have such a loving Father.
Verse 3: Jacob tells everyone that they are going to live in Bethel, build an altar and serve the one true God. After the incident in Schechem, Jacob seems committed, not only to act like a Christian, but he is admitting his need for God. I believe this is an important truth for Christians to remember, repentance is when we confess and turn away from sin.
Verse 4: Jacob must have preached a powerful message because they gave up their strange gods. Jacob buries their idols under an oak tree near Schechem. I am reminded of Joshua 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (KJV).
I have to wonder how many Christian households need someone to stand up and preach the same message Jacob preached or Joshua spoke to the nation of Israel. How many church pews will be empty because the family is too busy worshipping their worldly idols?
Our call to worship does not simply rest on an attendance record at a local church; it is our personal relationship with the Lord and extends out to our family and friends. Remember that Jacob had to begin with his own faith and obedience first, and then he followed the Lord’s will in sharing his faith with family and friends.
The Silent Preacher
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