Read Genesis 35:1-15.
For the believer in Jesus Christ, life goes from disorder to order, from the deep pit to the highest mountain, from disobedience to surrender. We go from power to greater power, from strength to greater strength, from one point of glory to another.
I realize that things don't always feel this way in the Christian life. Take Jacob, for example. He acts selfishly and dishonestly, but then he has an experience with God and begins to live by faith. Then time goes by, and he gets busy, and suddenly he's operating out of his own strength again. But then he's reminded of God's promises, and his spirit is renewed. Is it any wonder that when we read about Jacob's life, we see a bit of ourselves?
Jacob looked back on his life and saw the fingerprints of God's faithfulness all over his story.
In Genesis 35, we read that Jacob was reminded of an experience he had had with God some twenty years earlier. God had spoken to him, saying, "Go up to Bethel" (Genesis 35:1). That's the place where God had first appeared to Jacob when he had been on the run from his brother, Esau. It was there that he had dreamt of a stairway to heaven and angels ascending and descending (see Genesis 28:12). It was there that God had told Jacob, "I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go" (v. 15). At the mention of Bethel, Jacob remembered God's blessings to him and his vow to God. He looked back on his life and saw the fingerprints of God's faithfulness all over his story.
Once he remembered God's grace toward him, Jacob then released the false idols he and his family had kept. "Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you," he announced to his household (Genesis 35:2). Jacob called his family to repentance. Why? Because their idols and their rings and their clothing were not just trinkets or ornaments. Jacob's family kept these idols for their own protection and security.
In the West today, not many people keep little statues in their homes, but we do have our own idols. We bow down to the idol of financial security. We give ourselves to our idol of career, reputation, or comfort. But when we remember what God has done for us, we have an opportunity to set aside these false gods—knowing that our only real security comes from Him.
Prayer: Lord, help me to remember Your faithfulness to me. May it inspire me to seek first Your Kingdom and to trust in You whatever my trials. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"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'" (Genesis 35:1).
Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon series Fear Deceives, Grace Frees: WATCH NOW