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Pastor Brant Seacrist

OCTOBER 25, 2020


TEXT: GENESIS 35: 1-15

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SUBJ: The return of Jacob to Bethel in accordance with the commitment made in that place and the mandate of the Lord to him to return.

AIM: That we might be moved to revisit promises received and vows made that we would be delivered from presumption.

INTR: The return to Bethel was not as we might have thought in that Jacob seemed to delay and encountered difficulty as a result.
1. The sojourn at Shechem lasted about ten years and occasioned a tragic occurrence and the treachery of the sons of Jacob.
2. As is often the case, the Lord allowed their discomfiture through their own actions and failure to act with urgency on the command of the Lord.
3. What follows here tells us much of the relation of Jacob with the Lord as it points us to eternal truths concerning the Lord and challenges us to a proper worship and obedience.

THESIS: When worship and devotion to God are neglected, and we become forgetful of past mercies and deliverance, there will come the diversion of our attention from the Lord's presence and to the tolerance of unacceptable ways.

I. A time of purging (vv. 1-4)
1. The mandate is clear that he is to go to Bethel with no more stops.
1) The Lord had reminded Jacob that He was the God of Bethel when He commanded the departure from Haran.
2) The delay had been costly where immediate obedience would have prevented - all providential.
2. The entourage included people that were of heathen origin who would have been practicing idolatry in the presence of the household and
1) A protective anticipated.
2) The matters of purification both symbolically and spiritually are often referenced.
3. It was at this point that Jacob rehearsed the events of thirty years before to enforce the importance of what was about to happen.
4. All the symbols of idolatry were put from them and hidden in a place indicating strength and the unlikelihood of rediscovery and reuse.

II. A protective providence (vv. 5-8)
1. The fear of Jacob was that the actions of his sons would enflame all the peoples in the area, but the opposite was true, and they gave him a wide berth as he traveled
1) The terror of God was upon them and
2) We are reminded of the ability of the Lord to turn unregenerate hearts to His purposes.
2. From the lone figure on that fateful night of many years before to the full company that was Jacob's household, there would be a renewal of true worship with Jacob and the appearance of the Lord to him.
3. The altar was built and was called Elbethel which is God the house of God.
4. The death of Deborah, Rebekah's nurse was significant in that she had played an important role in the household, but now signified a complete break with the past in Haran.
1) It is uncertain as to how she came to be with them, perhaps joining them for the return or having been sent by Rebekah to accompany her son and his house.
2) Her memory is preserved, and the place called Allonbachuth - The Oak of Weeping.

III. A promise renewed (vv. 9-15)
1. God appeared again (the name is plural - Elohim) in human form and blessed him there
2. The name Israel is reaffirmed, or it is established as promised when Jacob wrestled with the Lord.
3. The covenant is restated in its entirety assuring Jacob of the divinely appointed role:
1) Declaring I am the God Almighty (El Shaddai) we are minded of the words to Abraham in Genesis 17:1 - "I am the Almighty God; walk before me and be thou perfect"
2) Here Jacob is told to "be fruitful and multiply."
3) It will be in the might of God that all will be accomplished.
4) His seed would inherit the Land.
4. And so, Jacob worshiped
1) Before he had anointed a stone, now he built a pillar and
2) Poured out a drink offering – thereby consecrating it to the worship of God and anointed it with oil - typical of sanctifying to a purpose.
5. And Jacob again called the Name of the place Bethel in that God had again appeared to him there.