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Summary: What pulls us from God?

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A. WHAT PULLS US FROM GOD?

1. Money, making it, spending it, not having it

2. Difficulties

3. Job

4. Striving for acceptance or recognition of people

5. Family problems, divorce, spouse, etc.

6. Sin

7. Addiction to sports, sex, porn, alcohol, etc.

“God told Jacob to move his family back to Bethel, and build a home and altar there because ‘that is where I appeared to you when you were running away from Esau.’ So Jacob commanded everyone with him, ‘Get rid of your idols of foreign gods, purify yourself, and put on clean clothes. I’m going to build an altar to God who answers my prayers and has been with me.’ So they gave their idols to Jacob and he buried them under an oak tree at Shechem. As they traveled, a terror of God settled over the people they passed in different towns, and no one attacked Jacob. Eventually, they arrived and called it Bethel. They built an altar and called it El Bethel which means “the God of Bethel,” because God appeared to him there. When they got there, Rebekah’s nurse (Deborah) died and she was buried under a tree (it’s called Allon Bachuth) which means oak of weeping.

When Jacob arrived, God appeared to him, ‘Your name is no longer Jacob (Deceiver), you shall be called Israel (Prince with God).’ God said to him, ‘I am God Almighty (El Shaddai). Be fruitful and multiply. Kings and a great nation shall come from you. The land I promised to Abraham and Isaac, I promise to you and your descendants.’ When God left, Jacob set up an altar of stones and poured oil on it” (Gen. 35:1-15, Condensed).

B. WHAT MADE JACOB JOURNEY BACK TO GOD?

1. Danger. “Laban’s sons . . . grumbled . . . Jacob has robbed our father” (31:1, NLT).

2. His boss turned against him. “Jacob began to notice a change in Laban’s attitude toward him” (31:2, NLT).

3. Inner conscience. “God made me wealthy at your father’s expense” (31:9, LB).

4. Memory. “Crossed the Euphrates River, heading for . . . Gilead” (31:21, NLT).

C. HOW TO JOURNEY BACK TO GOD

1. Jacob remembers meeting God at Bethel. “Lord, you told me to return” (32:9, NLT).

2. The Word of God pulls us back, “God said . . . ‘Arise go up to Bethel’” (35:1, NKJV).

3. The pull of God’s presence, “There God appeared to him” (35:7).

4. Returning involves a journey, more than a single decision or desire.

5. The atmospheric presence of God; where we touch God and He touches us.

6. Repentance from foreign gods. A god is anything that gets between you and the Lord. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3).

7. Separate or destroy idols so they won’t tempt you again.

a. You demonstrate sincerity to yourself and others.

b. You show God you are serious.

c. You do it completely. “Dig a hole and bury them” (Gen. 35:2, ELT).

8. Repentance comes at beginning of your journey. “Buried them . . . Shechem” (35:4, NLT).

9. Others know when you are on the journey with God. “The terror of God was upon them” (35:5, NKJV).

10. Build an altar (35:7); the place of blood to cleanse from sin (1 John 1:7).

11. Tie your rededication to your salvation. First, “I will build an altar to God” (Gen. 35:3, NLT). Then, finally they arrived . . . built an altar (35:6).


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