Saturday, October 17, 2020

2020.10.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 35:1–8

Read Genesis 35:1–8

Questions from the Scripture text: Who speaks to Jacob in Genesis 35:1? Where does He tell him to go? What does He tell him to do there? How does God describe Himself in verse 1? What does Jacob say to whom in Genesis 35:2—what three things does he command? Where does he say that they are going in Genesis 35:3, to do what? What does he call God in this verse? What do they all give Jacob in Genesis 35:4? What does he do with them? What keeps the cities around them from pursuing them in Genesis 35:5? To where does Jacob come in Genesis 35:6? In what land? Who else comes there? What does Jacob build there (Genesis 35:7)? What does he call the place? Why? Who dies there (Genesis 35:8)? Where do they bury her? What do they call the place? 

God is the true Hero of the story of any believer’s life.

He reminds Jacob of this in Genesis 35:1, referring back to when He had appeared to Jacob in chapter 28, and made promises which He has now kept. Jacob, however, hasn’t held up his end—as rather hideously exposed both in chapter 34 and now in Genesis 35:2 and Genesis 35:4, where we discover that he knows that there are foreign gods being worshiped in his home that he has done nothing about until now. Even Genesis 35:8 is a subtle reminder of the sin out of which the Lord has saved Jacob. In Genesis 27:44, Rebekah had suggested that they would see each other again in a few days, but she is never mentioned again. He didn’t get to bury his mother; only Deborah, his mother’s nurse.

But, behold the grace of God! Even after all God has done for Jacob, and Jacob persisting in this level of sin, God is still bringing Jacob near to Himself to worship. The altar is at the center of the passage. 

God commands the altar in Genesis 35:1

The need to come to the altar is what demands the repentance in Genesis 35:2 and Genesis 35:4. Jacob explains in v3, “I will make there an altar to God.” He reminds them of God’s goodness to that point. The implication is that they cannot come before this holy and good God with their lives defiled by idols.

It is so that they can safely build the altar at Bethel in v7 that God protects them in their way in Genesis 35:5-6.

It is comparatively easy to recognize that God’s worship is an appropriate response to His grace. Here, we are also meant to see that God’s worship itself is a gift from Him by that grace. 

In His grace, He is patient with us and willing to have us come near. In His grace, He protects and provides for us so that we are able to come. And then in His grace, God displays Himself to us and reminds us that He is the great Hero of His people’s story.

To what goodness of/by God should you be responding to with worship? How does His worship provoke you to repentance? How does His worship preserve your remembrance of His goodness?

Suggested songs: ARP80 “Hear, O Hear Us” or TPH413 “Revive Thy Work, O Lord”

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