Genesis 35:1–2: “Then God said to Jacob, ‘Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.’ And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, ‘Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments.'”

July 19th, 2019 by Pastor Ed in devotional

Jacob was a very tolerant man; in fact, he was so passive it almost cost him his family. He was not where he was supposed to be, and because of that he was around people he should not have been around and they were badly influencing his family. His daughter was not well protected, resulting in her being raped in a city God never told Jacob to stay in. Jacob’s sons took the matter into their own hands, when they remorselessly mass murdered the entire population of the city of Shechem.

With Jacob’s family out of control, God again intervened and called him back to fellowship and obedience. The result was that Jacob finally stood up and took on his responsibility as the spiritual authority of his family. The first thing he did was set about bringing cleansing to his family. Cleansing here means bringing God’s word into family life. How we need to read or at least quote the word around the family table. Today perhaps more than any other time in history, our families need cleansing by the word from the world’s influence. The Psalmist asks, “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word” (Psalm 119:9). Jesus said something very similar: “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you” (John 15:3). Jacob also told his kids to “change their garments,” meaning they needed to get rid of the compromises covering their lives.

The result of Jacob’s obedience was that God faithfully brought him safely to Bethel. As Abraham and Isaac had done before, Jacob built an altar and named it in commemoration of the Lord’s appearing to him there when he left for Haran. Then for a second time Jacob’s name was changed to “Israel.” Why twice? The point of the second renaming was to erase the negative reason for the first renaming. At this point, Jacob was not the same Jacob who had “struggled with God and men.” Wow! Obedience brings blessing and a changed life.

“LORD, we chose to serve you this day. We want to be obedient, give us a heart to follow You today in all that we do.”