Jacob and his family had recently suffered a tragic, life-changing event. While distraught, they sought to avenge the injustice in their own way. You can almost hear the deep sigh of the Lord as we begin chapter 35 with instructions to Jacob to not only spiritually purify his household but save them from their emotional, misguided, sin-filled actions. As Jacob obeyed, blessing followed, and the Lord’s redemptive plan moved forward.
- How have you experienced blessing, in big or small ways, as you’ve obeyed God?
READ THE WORD: GENESIS 35:1-15 (ESV)
35:1 God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there. Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” 2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments. 3 Then let us arise and go up to Bethel, so that I may make there an altar to the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” 4 So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods that they had, and the rings that were in their ears. Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree that was near Shechem.
5 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. 6 And Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him, 7 and there he built an altar and called the place El-bethel, because there God had revealed himself to him when he fled from his brother. 8 And Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died, and she was buried under an oak below Bethel. So he called its name Allon-bacuth.
9 God appearedto Jacob again, when he came from Paddan-aram, and blessed him. 10 And God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; no longer shall your name be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.” So he called his name Israel. 11 And God said to him, “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come from your own body. 12 The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you.” 13 Then God went up from him in the place where he had spoken with him. 14 And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he had spoken with him, a pillar of stone. He poured out a drink offering on it and poured oil on it. 15 So Jacob called the name of the place where God had spoken with him Bethel.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- What did God tell Jacob to do in verse 1?
- What was the first thing Jacob did? Why was it important to put away the foreign gods?
- On their journey of obedience, list all the things you see that God provided.
- As Jacob and his household obeyed, what were the results?
- Where is God asking for your obedience today?
RESPOND TO GOD
The beauty in this story is that Jacob obeyed, and as he did, he experienced God’s protection, his provision, his promises. When I’m reminded that obeying God is my pathway to real relationship with him, I breathe so much easier. The pain, the difficulties, and the required sacrifices are still present, but his promises become evident and can even be enjoyed. Along the way, God blessed Jacob’s obedience with a new name, Israel. Isn’t that what we seek, too? To be reminded of the Lord’s faithfulness to us, identified by name, and transformed into the people we were meant to be?
- Thank God that his mercies are new every morning, his grace is sufficient, and he will never leave you or forsake you.