Summary: This is a study on call and consecration. It is also an exposition of Genesis 35
TEXT: Genesis 35 W. Max Alderman
INTRODUCTION: The Shechem massacre placed Jacob in a most fearful state. Yet God made Himself very real to Jacob as He spoke to him. The Word of God made all the difference to Jacob. This chapter pictures the work of salvation and also can picture rededication in a person’s life. With Jacob, it began with a call and it was followed by consecration…
I. THE CALL OF JACOB Vv. 1-4
The Lord is calling Jacob to the place that he had previously found peace, safety, and worship during a crisis. It was at this place named Bethel (house of God) that God confirmed the Abrahamic covenant to Jacob (28:10-19).
PRACTICAL APPLICATION: It is impossible to separate a productive Christian from the house of the Lord. The church meets at a place of assembly for the purpose of its membership being able to gain peace, safety, and find worship. In addition to these blessings, they are countless other blessings to be had. The Lord wants us to be faithful at our place just as he called Jacob to his place. When I go to a Georgia Southern football game, I hear the fans scream to the other team: “This is our House”. I wish to scream out to the other team, which is Satan’s team, that this church is “Our House!”
A. It was a call from Heaven. (v. 1)
The mortal man Jacob was confronted by a heavenly messenger, God Himself, and told to arise and go to Bethel and dwell there. He was told to make an altar unto God there. Altars are mentioned many times in the Bible. The first mentioned altar in the Bible was the one built by Noah after the flood (Genesis 8:20). Abraham built altars (Genesis 12:7-8; 13:18; 22:9); Isaac built altars (Genesis 26:25), and then Jacob restored the altars that Abraham had built at Shechem (Genesis 33:20) and Bethel (Genesis 35:1-3). Altars would be built in association with a great event or as a reminder of one’s heritage. Altars were also built to show reverence and gratitude to God’s presence and blessings.
PRACTICAL APPLICATION: We do not build and worship at altars as did Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and then Jacob, but we certainly can worship the Lord in a sacrificial, giving way, as we present our bodies as a living sacrifice unto the Lord. Romans 12:1 reminds us that we should present our bodies as a living sacrifice unto the Lord. Please do not wait until you are nearly dead to begin serving God in a giving and sacrificial way. Do it now, starting today!
B. It was a call to Holiness. (Vv. 2-4)
The call to holiness involved the putting away of some things and also the putting on of some things. God is a jealous God and does not want His people giving worship to any other god and for this reason, Jacob tells them to be clean. This could refer to ceremonial cleansing for the purpose of them being aware that God is Holy and He does not accept that which is defiling or filthy. Jacob also instructs them to change their garments. This was important because “Throughout the Bible, garments symbolize character. The inward life of the unregenerate is compared to a polluted garment” (Barnhouse). These verses picture what goes on at the time of salvation (Colossians 3:5-17) and consecration. These evil things that Jacob told the people to put away were buried under the oak, which was by Shechem, to be seen no more.
PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Christians should be marked and identifiable by the way that they present themselves. The world has such a magnetic pull on everyone, including Christians. For this reason, just as Jacob initiated Godly leadership in encouraging his family to sanctify themselves, so should we do the same. Jacob’s family only got right with God after Jacob himself did. This again shows us the tremendous leadership role men have within the family. A man resisting God will see the same effect in his children. A man who gets right with God will see the effect in his family also.
II. THE CARE OF JACOB Vv. 5-8
The protective, providential care is clearly seen in this section. God brought a terror or fear to the cities surrounding Jacob. Thus Jacob was spared from vengeance on the part of the survivors of the Shechem massacre. The Lord also protects the Christian, who is in His will, from the enemy.
A. The care brought Protection against the Foes. (Vv. 5-7)
Just as there are diabolical forces that permeates the air, and the minds of men (Ephesians. 6:10-16), there is also the sovereign influence of God that allows Himself to do as he wills. He caused a terror to grip the hearts of the men that were around about Jacob. Therefore, Jacob was able to safely make his trip to Bethel.