Summary: Even as Jacob’s world is filled with the sins of his sons and the death of his wife and father, God renews his faithful promises.
February 22, 2004
As we begin this morning I want you to go back with me to the time when Moses wrote this book. The children of Israel are somewhere out in the wilderness. They still have very vivid memories of their time in Egypt. In fact, we know that not only were there memories of Egypt, but also the thinking of the Israelites had been profoundly affected by there time in Egypt.
Imagine with me what that Egyptian mindset meant in terms of their concept of God.
Egypt had a pantheon of gods. Why would an Egyptian worship one of his gods more than other gods in the pantheon? Well if you were a farmer, worshipping the sea god didn’t make a whole lot of sense. You would spend your worship time appeasing the god of the Nile who watered your fields, or the god of fertility who could ensure that your livestock would reproduce. Conversely if you were a fisherman, it would not be worth your while to worship those gods. Instead, the god of the sea would protect you and give a bountiful catch.
The worshipper would choose the god that would work best for him. The worshipper was responsible to seek after the god and appease or bribe that god into doing what the worshipper desired. If the worshipper failed then the god would refuse to deliver on the bounty and might even punish the worshipper for his lack of faithfulness.
Is that the image of God that Israel ought to have about Jehovah God? Much of what is recorded in Genesis is in fact a lesson that such a view of God is dead wrong. Jehovah is different from the gods of the nations.
I want look at the passage today as a kind of sandwich. We want to look at the slices of bread first, then get to the heart - the meat.
1. Slice one - The rape of Dinah and the sin of Simeon and Levi chapter 34
we looked at this passage 2 weeks ago.
Revenge rather than justice - result is Simeon and Levi being by passed for the birthright.
2. Slice two - death and sin 35:16-29
The death of Rachel 35:16-20
The sin of Reuben 35:21-22
The death of Isaac 35:27-29
3. The meat - covenant renewal 35:1-15
God renews the covenant with Jacob - in the middle of the section on sin and death, God chooses to renew His covenant
The idol worshipper picked a god based on self interest and then sought to bribe and appease that god.
Jehovah picks his worshipper. Jehovah remains faithful despite sin and death.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
In the same way that God chose Jacob, He also chose us and will remain faithful.