Summary: When a person receives Jesus as his personal Savior, he receives a new nature from God. The new nature doesn’t destroy the old nature that is in the person before conversion. The old nature is still alive and very real in the life of the believer.
BACK TO BETHEL.
Genesis 35 01/18/04
When a person receives Jesus as his personal Savior, he receives a new nature from God. The new nature doesn’t destroy the old nature that is in the person before conversion. The old nature is still alive and very real in the life of the believer. Still something happen that the believer has never experienced before. There is the battle of the two natures. Both battling for the control of your life. The old nature battling with the new nature that is given by God. The battle of these two natures will continue until Jesus comes and salvation is perfected.
The life of Jacob is an example of the conflict of these two natures. We find in our text that Jacob came close to God to the point that he even wrestled with God. God broke Jacob and it was at that time Jacob’s life changed. The God told Jacob, your name will no longer be Jacob but Israel. Still even after that experience, we find Jacob still struggled with his faith in God. Jacob had his ups and downs in his walk with God.
This is somewhat an overview of chapters 33 and 34. Actually what we see in these chapters is the failures of Jacob. So in the midst of his failures, God spoke to Jacob. Jacob I want you to arise and go back to Bethel. When God said the word Bethel to Jacob I believe it struck a note in Jacob’s mind. It was at Bethel that Jacob met God in a very personal way. It was at Bethel that Jacob yielded his life to God.
I wonder if there is a very special place in your spiritual history this morning? A place where you had a personal experience with God? There are two special experiences in my spiritual history. There is the place where I came to know Jesus as my personal Savior. There back up in North Carolina on the Virginia line stands a Baptist church. Every time we go back to that church I see the pew where I sat. I just sort of day dream when I am back in that church. I remember my pastor Billy Moreland preaching Jesus and His salvation. Then one Sunday morning in the month of November I went forward in the invitation and gave my heart to Jesus. Immediately God started dealing with my life. One day I walked the isle and announced to those special people God calling me to preach the Gospel. That was my Bethel experience. Those were not my only two experiences with God but that was my Bethel.
God said Jacob I want you to go back to that place of closeness and fellowship with God. God was calling Jacob back to the place of total commitment. Yet the Bible tells us that Jacob lingered in a place called Shechem. It was because he lingered in Shechem that his problems begin. He had a daughter named Dina who got in with the wrong crowd. She was raped and her brothers became so outraged that they killed many of the men of that tribe. All this brought about spiritual depression in the life of Jacob. Jacob wasn’t where he was suppose to be with God. I just wonder if that isn’t where some of you are found today? God said I want you Jacob to go back to Bethel. Jacob was the leader of his household. He was the one to set the example. He was their hero. He was the leader. Jacob gathered up his household and begin the journey back to Bethel. I just wonder if there aren’t some dads that ought to start that journey back to Bethel this morning? You may just may need to go back to that place of closeness and total commitment to God in this service. I tell you men we need to lead on this spiritual journey. We need to set the example for our family. It is easy for us to get so busy making a living we forget to make a life. We fail in our leadership role as the spiritual leader. How long has it been sense your children saw you walk to this altar? Have they ever? I tell you it does something in the life of that boy or girl to see their daddy kneel at the altar of God.
Now I want you to notice Jacob’s instructions he gave his family on the way back to Bethel. Jacob being the leader of his family said some things we ought to hear as he instructs his family. Jacob said put away the strange gods that are among you. That has to do with worship. Strange gods are idols. Idols appeal to the flesh. It was a hindrance to the worship of the true God. An idol can be anything that hinders your worship attendance. Are there any idols in your life dads? Are you the one leading your family to worship on the Lord’s day? It may be that you just need to go back to Bethel. That place of commitment to God.