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Gen. 35:1-29 - Revival - Part 2
Last week we saw that God showed up on the scene and that was the beginning of a revival, that WE aren’t the ones to “schedule” a revival, it takes place on God’s timetable and by a move of Him. We now continue with the text.
Vs. 2-4 - “So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.”
So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the oak at Shechem.
We’re able to discover here 2 things about authentic revival:
First, there is a sensitivity to sin. And secondly, there is a willingness to turn away from that sin.
So in authentic revival - it doesn’t have anything to do with us getting together and getting all excited! When there is a true revival that has been produced by the Spirit of God, there is a real sensitivity to sin and there’s a willingness to turn from that sin. In other words, in a revival brought forth by the Spirit of God you are going to see a real move towards and emphasis upon personal holiness.
The Word of God says God is holy, and if we are saying that God is coming alive in our midst, then one of the fruits of that should be the holiness of the Lord being seen in the lives of His people.
We see that here. Jacob is saying: “I want to bring all these stupid idols, all of the false gods, and man, we need to get rid of them.”
If ya remember Rachel had stolen her father Labon’s idols back in ch. 31. And with the absorption of the mixed multitude from Shekham, Jacob no doubt became aware that there was a great number of false gods among the camp.
So, in vs. 4 the people comply. Willingness to turn. So they go and give Jacob all their AC-DC and Black Sabbath cd’s, their horror movies and so forth.
Here’s what I want us to notice. Where did they put them? End of vs. 4. Under a strong oak tree. Oftentimes in the Scriptures the cross is referred to as “The Tree.” “Blessed is he who is cursed upon the tree.” Both Old and New Testaments. One of the images we see as the cross is a tree. So here they are, bringing all their false gods, burying them under the tree.
And the idea is, even as you and I are to take those things that hinder us and bury them at the foot of the tree of the cross. Beautiful picture!!
Also notice Jacob here tells these guys: “Alright, I want you to change your clothes.” Purify yourselves, change your garments. And the picture here really reminds us of the imagery that we see in much of the N.T. where Paul tells the Collosians, Ephesians and Romans. (Col. 3:9-10; Eph. 4:22-24; Rom. 13:14).
The idea is “Put off” the old man, put off the old self, put on the new man and the new person and clothe yourself in the righteousness of Christ. So the idea of clothing and garments in the Scriptures speaks to a new beginning and a real turning within a person’s heart. So with Biblical revival there’s a sensitivity to sin, a willingness here on the part of the people to put away their sin, and then of course, notice what that then produces - you’ve got the mention of the altar there!
The putting away of sin ushers in a desire to worship the Lord.
Notice what else is produced picking it up in vs. 5.
Vs.5-7 - “Then they set out, and the terror of God fell on the towns all around them so that no one pursued them.
Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan. There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel, because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.”
“El-Bethel.” This is a great detail. There are times when you and I have associated in our lives certain places that we attribute spirituality to. We do this is our churches, but we have to remember it’s not what? It’s not the place that’s important, but the God of that place. So here the H.S. includes this detail. It’s not Bethel, but El-Bethel which means: “The God of Bethel.”
So it's not Bethel we’re to get excited about, it's not our churches, the buildings that we’re to get excited about. But the God of Bethel and the God of wherever it is that you choose to fellowship.
We see this theme reoccur the past couple chapters, so we suspect the Lord is trying to tell us something. 90% that you and I worry about, the majority of the things that cause our hearts to be captured by fear never really come to pass. I always say: “Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.”
Again, you remember Jacob, upon learning of the destruction that his sons had brought upon Shekham, that his heart became “gripped by fear” in 34:30. And he was just afraid the rest of the Caananites were going to see that and come and wipe him out. Yet here we discover that returning to the Lord, walking now in obedience to the Lord, shelters them and protects them.
We read in vs. 5 “that there was a great terror that came upon the cities around the camp, so they did not pursue the sons of Jacob.” John tells us in 1 John 4:18 - “The perfect love of God casts out fear.”
That as you and I grow in God and give ourselves to the Word and come to know Him and His love and trust and protection and provision that comes with knowing God, then one of the things that should come of that is an absence of fear. We need to get that, we need to receive that. God’s trying to tell us something here! Walk in that freedom.
Join us next we as we continue with Genesis 35.
Blessings to you all.