Friday, February 4, 2011

Genesis: Chapter 35

Back to Beth-el...20 years for Jacob, 8 chapters for us...and we see Jacob growing:  now he calls this place El Beth el...not just House of God but a deeper vision of God:  God of the house of God.  God had told Jacob that back in Padan Arm..."I am the God of Beth el"...but it took some time for the deep truth of that to penetrate Jacob's soul.  Not long ago, we watched Jacob become a more other-centered man and that is a wonderful thing.  But a God-centered man is an awesome transformation. 

Returning to our first love, our first vision of God's plan for our lives, involves losses, heartaches and hope for the future!  It also involves cleansing and purifying.  We can not hold onto our sins and our idols...they block the plans of the Lord and bring harm to ourselves and others.  Yet, God is faithful; He can and does use our mistakes to further our growth and knowledge of Him.  His purposes will sustain us even as our lives descend into chaos and our hearts break.  In fact, God is all that can sustain us in those times. 

We see a lot of losses in this chapter.   Jacob is running again--but this time to God.  God works in the hearts of those who are rightly angry to protect Jacob again.  Also, the fact that Rebekah is with Jacob is probable evidence that Rachel died previously.  Jacob's close relationship with his mom was part of the early deception and dissension in his home.  Their sinful actions did not negate the love they shared, and I see some symbolism in Rebekah's death--the connections that led us astray must be released.  The love remains but we must be constrained by a love of God alone to truly live for Him. 

Then, there is the loss of Rachel...that accompanied the gift of Benjamin.  Son of My Right Hand...a blessing in the midst of the heartache of losing his truly beloved wife.  One of Jacob's 'big' errors was to give preference to his children--he knew what that felt like from his own life.  His dad had preferred his brother; his mother had preferred him: and the results were disastrous.  Those inherited habits will be purified later...God is greater than our errors.  But in this chapter, we are seeing Jacob give praise to God in the midst of loss.  We, too, must trust in His love beyond the love of those we walk this life journey with.

Finally, we have a sweet reconciliation...and another loss.  The family chasm of the stolen blessing is finally fully healed as Jacob returns to the house of Isaac.  At El Beth-el God reaffirms His promises to Jacob...and then we learn late in this chapter he returned to Isaac's home. God has given us all a ministry of reconciliation.  It is never His desire for us to have fractured families; the Prince of Peace longs to work in our hearts and our lives.  The death of Isaac completes the chapter as Esau and Isaac share together in their common grief.  The God of Hope is eternal; His purposes secure despite our frailties and sins.  We can move forward even in our heartaches when we trust in Him.

No comments:

Post a Comment