Genesis 35

Back in Genesis 28, fresh off his deception of his father, on his way out of the land that belonged to his family, Jacob heard from the Lord in a dream at a place he named Bethel, which means “the house of God.” God made promises to Jacob in that dream that led Jacob to make this vow in Genesis 28:20-22, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.” Jacob’s posture toward the Lord in Genesis 28 could be described as hopeful skepticism. He wasn’t ready to go all in and call the Lord his God, but he wasn’t ready to close the door either. Jacob reasoned that if God could deliver on His promises, then he would worship Him, but ultimately, Jacob was at the center of his story.

As we find Jacob on his way back to Bethel in Genesis 35:2-3, we hear a different tone, “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. 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.”” What changed between Genesis 28 and Genesis 35? God didn’t change. He continued to be faithful. What changed was Jacob, who is now renamed Israel. Jacob’s posture toward the Lord is no longer hopeful skepticism. It is now a posture of faithful allegiance. God’s persevering grace in Jacob’s life turned his heart fully to the Lord. Jacob now trusted the Lord’s promises and walked in His purposes. God was now at the center of Jacob’s story.

Jacob’s story was one of total transformation, and so is ours from the moment we trust in Jesus. Think about your story. What was your life like before you trusted Jesus? What or who was at the center of your life? How has Jesus changed your heart and your life? Today, let’s give thanks to God for His transformational work in our lives, and let’s look for an opportunity to share about the God who always answers us and never leaves us.

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