September 6, 2017
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Here again is our featured Scripture, Genesis 35:1 through 4:
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
…Esau your brother.” And Jacob said to his household and to all that
were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify
yourselves and change your garments. Then let us arise and go up to
Bethel; and I will make an altar there to God….” So they gave Jacob
all the foreign gods…and Jacob hid them under the therebinth tree [oak
tree – KJV] which was by Shechem.
In our last blog, the question was asked, “What were foreign gods doing in Jacob’s extended household? ” Two reasons were given:
• Jacob was ‘newly saved!’ It takes time to grow into godliness and get rid of all the idols in our life!
• “Rachel had stolen the household idols that were her father’s…” (Genesis 31:19), and probably still had them in her possession!
Let’s go on to a third reason:
• Jacob’s order was “…said to his household…” (Genesis 35:2). His household would have consisted of his immediate family of four wives and twelve children (eleven sons and one daughter at that time). But there were more:
✡ Many grandchildren!
✡ Servants and slaves!
✡ Guests and ‘hangers-on’!
Many of those who were not of his direct descendants came from the pagan surroundings, bringing with them their devotion to their idols! So when Jacob told his household, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you…” (Genesis 35:2), there were probably quite a number of foreign gods to be put away!
We must receive a warning from this Old Testament incident: Even as Christians, we can collect idols in our household without even realizing it!
• I call it The Crux of Christianity! (See the blogs posted on September 2, 4 and 7, 2015). The Crux is from Mark 12:29 through 31: “…you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all you soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. And…you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” In John 14:15, Jesus tells us, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” We could then translate the first part of the Luken passage this way: “…you shall OBEY the LORD your God with all your heart, with all you soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” That is putting God first in your life! Anything less than that is allowing other things to take first place! And that is idolatry! What kind of things? Family, profession, schooling, hobbies, friends, possessions – just about anything in our lives upon which we might put too much concentration! And the most prominent thing we put in the Lord’s place is ourselves! (See Luke 22:42 – reversing the pronouns!).
• You are to be a godly influence in your family, your extended household, and among neighbors and friends! I know from personal experience that there are a lot of idols among extended household, and among neighbors and friends!
• And what about the ‘family’ of our church? Since they are our spiritual brothers and sisters – part of the same body of Christ as we are (see I Corinthians 12:27), we have a responsibility to help cleans idolatry from our spiritual family!
So there are two things we must do:
• For ourselves – Pray the prayer David prayed at the end of Psalm 139, verses 23 and 24 (Jubilee Bible): “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way eternal.”
• For our extended household (including friends, neighbors, and church) – Pray Daniel’s prayer of intercession! (See Daniel 9:5-19 – obviously too long to reproduce here, but well worth reading!).
All this as a prelude to “…go up to Bethel and dwell there…” (Genesis 35:1). We will see what this means in our next blog.