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Gen. 35:1-29 - Revival - Part 1
If ya remember ch. 34 - Wow, right! That gave us one of the most pathetic pictures out of the history of Israel there is! Remember Levi and Simeon went into Shekham and sought to avenge the rape of their sister, and in doing so just created a horrific act of mass murder. And and then the rest of the boys joined in and looted the place. So what we had was murder and theft. And again, these are the 12 patriarchs, the 12 fathers of Israel.
The other interesting thing about ch. 34 is the stark contrast between 34 and 35. You remember that the name of God was not mentioned once in ch. 34, and here in 35 we’re going to see the name of God mentioned over 10 times! And what we have begun to discover, and will continue to discover, is that it is simply obedience! Obedience to the will and word of God that really determines which of these two environments we will discover ourselves in.
You remember God had called Jacob to go to Bethel and Jacob knew that and he did not do it, he went somewhere else and the result was great dysfunction and darkness within his family for a period of time. Here in ch. 35 Jacob is going to lead his family back into the will of God and the result is going to be a great cleansing and a great restoring within these people.
Genesis, being the book of beginnings, we see a lot of firsts here. And I think we could say of ch. 35 that we have here recorded the first revival in the Scriptures.
We have to be very careful with this term. I think that what most people envision when they hear the term “revival” that there’s a mental image of some kind of an emotional gathering or meeting where there’s just a great emotional outpouring, maybe crying, a charismatic speaker and a large outdoor tent... People are being emotionally touched and moved upon somehow.
But what we’re going to discover here in ch. 35 is that it is NOT the kind of revival that has come upon the camp of Jacob. So let’s dig in and see what the Bible has to say about Biblical or authentic revival.
Vs. 1 - “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.”
So, there’s God on the scene. I think there’s a gap here from ch. 34. How long of a gap we don’t know. But what we’ll see in a bit is that these guys are going to Israel and are going to do away with a number of idols that they’ve accumulated. No doubt these idols, these false gods were somehow assimilated into the camp of Jacob over time as a result of absorbing the wealth and the people of Shekham.
There are scholars that suggest maybe 2 or 3 decades have passed here. And remember, back in ch. 34, not only did they walk away will all their goods, but they also took the women and the children in Shekham, and one of the things we’ll see throughout the history of Israel in the O.T. is that anytime these guys absorb these other people groups, bad news is usually not too far around the corner.
So Israel teaches us a valuable lesson in them trying to adapt to the ways of the world. That though we are told to reach out to the lost world with the Gospel and to befriend the unbeliever and minister to them, we have to be VERY careful that were not drawn into the ways of the world.
You remember Jesus said is His high priestly prayer to the Father in John 17:16-18 - “I have sent them INTO the world, but they are not (What?) OF the world.”
And Paul tells us in Rom. 12:2; 15:4 - “Look, be careful not to conform yourself to the patterns of this world.”
So Israel really teaches us throughout the O.T. we’ve got to be careful there.
We are assuming that these were years of silence between ch. 34- ch. 35. Again, not one mention of the Lord in ch. 34. But now God just shows up on the scene in vs. 1 and He begins to speak to Jacob once again.
Now this lets us know that when revival takes place that revival is not something that can be “Scheduled.” From time to time we have Churches planning a spring revival or whatever, and, of course, there's nothing wrong with that, I’ve been part of them - It's a very good thing to do - to have a desire for a time of gathering and getting serious about renewal with the Lord.
But as far as God truly moving in the hearts of men, it's not something that we can really schedule.
What we see in the Scriptures is that revival seems to take place on God’s schedule, that it is entirely God’s doing and there’s nothing that we can do to hurry God up.
Join us next week as we continue with Genesis chapter 35.
Blessings to you all.