Saturday, October 24, 2020

2020.10.24 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 35:9–15

Read Genesis 35:9–15

Questions from the Scripture text: Who appears to Jacob in Genesis 35:9? How does verse 9 describe the timing of the appearance? What else did He do to Jacob? What did God say his name is (Genesis 35:10)? How long would it be his name? What would his name be now? What did God say about Himself in Genesis 35:11? What does He command Jacob to do? What will proceed from him? Who will come from his body? What does God give him in Genesis 35:12? To whom else did He give it? What did God do then in Genesis 35:13? What does Jacob set up in Genesis 35:14? What two things does he pour on it? What did Jacob call the name of the place (Genesis 35:15)? Why? 

God appeared to Jacob. AGAIN. God spoke to Jacob. AGAIN. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. AGAIN. 

Will it take this time?

The reason that we want to ask that question is that Jacob, despite moments of real faith by real grace, sure seems to be acting more like a Jacob (heel grabber) than an Israel (God wrestles). 

But that’s just the way that believers’ spiritual lives often seem to go. There are amazing moments of being convinced of God’s Word—of knowing Him and His power and His love in the gospel, and of being stirred up with love for Him. And then there are those moments where it seems like we haven’t made three steps’ worth progress in grace.

Thankfully, it doesn’t ultimately depend upon us. The sticking-power of our new identity in Christ is found ultimately in God’s identity. “I am God Almighty.”

The first time we heard that, Abram hadn’t heard from God for 13 years after the Hagar incident. Was there hope for Abram after such a grave error? Yes there was: “I am God Almighty; walk before Me and be blameless” (Genesis 17:1).

Now, Jacob has slouched himself and his family into a dreadful spiritual condition. So, the Lord brings him back into worship and fellowship (Genesis 35:1-8). What hope is there for such a stumbling believer to make progress in grace? “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 35:11).

So, when your slouching and stumbling make you wonder if there’s hope for someone who has been shown as much grace as you, and yet seems at times to have made as little progress as you, the answer is not in you. It’s in Him. He is God Almighty. And it is upon His power and purpose and plan and promise that your growth and salvation ultimately depend.

When the Lord reminds us of that, we ought to worship Him, just as Jacob did. And, when the Lord brings us to worship Him, He reminds us that it is upon Him that our progress in grace and ultimate salvation depend.

What part of your life could most use repentance and/or renewal?

How can/will that come about?

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

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