RENEWING of PERSONAL LIFE through a RADICAL CHANGE
January 12 Bible Reading: Genesis Chapters 34-36
In Genesis 35:1, we read that Jacob heard the voice of God asking him to return to Bethel – the place where he had made his initial commitment to serve God. Even today, God has not stopped speaking to us, but it is possible that we have stopped listening to Him. He may be talking to us through a still small voice or, shouting to us through unpleasant situations in our lives. In Gen. 35:2 we read that Jacob put away all hindrances that stood between him and God. Hindrances in our lives are anything that competes with us having quality time with God. Earlier, Jacob had already made restitution with God (Gen. 32:22-30) and with Esau (Gen. 33:10) thus clearing his pathway to the place where he had first encountered God. Jacob’s return to Bethel was to recapture his vision and to reaffirm his commitment with God (Gen. 35:5, 6).
Jacob now built an altar and called it El-Bethel, which means ‘God of the House of God’. After 20 years of ‘growing up’ Jacob’s perspective has changed and what was more important for him now was his God alone. When Jacob does everything required of him, God renews his covenant by changing his name to Israel (Gen. 35:10), blessing him personally (v. 11), and gifting him the land that He had promised to Abraham and Isaac (v. 12). Psalms 105: 7-11 describes this beautifully as follows: He is the LORD our God; His judgments are in all the earth. He remembers His covenant forever, the word which He commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac, and confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the allotment of your inheritance”