Archive for March 11th, 2009

Genesis 35

Genesis 35 starts with something we all should note: “God spoke to Jacob”. We see this happen over and over during Jacob’s life. God meets him and speaks to him somewhat regularly. Why does that happen? He was from the lineage of Abraham which was important – so his legacy really was part of that. He had learned the importance of a relationship with God by the way it was modeled to him. He knew the history of God’s interaction with his family. But at the end of the day legacy only goes so far. It can be a huge part of creating the opportunity for success. It can be key to giving a foundation that makes relationship more likely. But the key to Jacob’s relationship with God really boils down to one simple fact, well maybe a couple: Jacob listened and obeyed. I am convinced that God speaks to you and me all the time. Not necessarily quite the way He did with Jacob – audibly and even face to face – but God is speaking to us. He has spoken through His written Word in the Bible and He speaks to us through the Holy Spirit which lives inside us as believers. He also answers our prayers and communicates with us in lots of other ways. But just like the communication patterns that sometimes develop at home with our spouse – they may be talking but we may not be listening. That I believe happens far too often to us in our walk with God. He is talking and we don’t have our ears on. Are you listening? Actively listening – which means looking into the very heart of God by reading His Word and spending time focused on Him through prayer? Listening is hard work. But it is so important. With God and in every other relationship we have.

Equally important to listening though is obedience. Here in this chapter God says to Jacob – pack up and take your family to Bethel. They had been moving around and were settled and now God wants them to move again. Jacob knew the enemy was all around that path. It was going to be a long and difficult journey. His response: “Jacob told his family….we’re going to Bethel”. No argument – just obedience. God prepared the way with “a paralyzing fear descended on the neighboring villages” so they didn’t even move as Jacob passed by. It would have been easy to give the excuse that their travel would leave them exposed to their enemies but Jacob trusts God. Along the way some important things happen. Rachel’s nurse dies, and Rachel in fact gives birth to Jacob’s final son – Benjamin – and then dies as part of that child birth. It would have been easy to stall God’s request to move until the child had been born. But Jacob just does what God tells him to do. He recognized this: “God has stuck with me everywhere I’ve gone”. God wants to do the same for us. A key for Jacob is that he was where God told him to be. We need to do the same and that happens with obedience!

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