The God of Life Will Not Share His Glory With False Gods

God commanded Jacob to go on a journey to remember that God has always been with Jacob and answered him.  This actually meant that lots of people would go on this journey with Jacob.  Before beginning the journey, however, Jacob instructed everyone in his household (family members and workers alike) to put away other gods/idols and to prepare themselves for this time when Jacob will honor and meet with God.  Everyone reportedly turned over such objects, and they traveled safely to their appointed destination, with the hand of God protecting them from attack.

Once they arrived, God gave Jacob a new beginning, complete with a new name–Israel.  He also identified Himself by the name God Almighty, perhaps to remind Israel that the promise He (God) made to Abraham and Isaac is the promise that will continue to be fulfilled through him (Israel).   As He did with Adam and Noah, God tells Israel to be fruitful and multiply.

These days many people seem to think that becoming familiar with and “drawing from” lots of different religions is the way to be culturally relevant.  While I agree that we should be well aware of the practices of people from all walks of life, to get to know them as whole human beings, understand them, and empathize with them, the God of the Bible is not interested in being on anyone’s spiritual buffet.  Being in the presence of God Almighty requires the surrender of any man-made god.  It also requires humility, submission.  God calls, and God’s people respond.  He blesses more richly than anyone could think possible, but that will be in His purposeful timing.  Put away the gods of this life from which you seek favors, and see what this Almighty God of Life will do to bless your surrendered soul.

“God said to Jacob, ‘Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there.  Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.’  So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, ‘Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments.  Then let us arise and go up to Bethel, so that I may make there an altar to the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.’  So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods that they had, and the rings that were in their ears.  Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree that was near Shechem.”  – Genesis 35:1-4

“God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from Paddan-aram, and blessed him.  And God said to him, ‘Your name is Jacob; no longer shall your name be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.’  So he called his name Israel.  And God said to him, ‘I am God Almighty:  be fruitful and multiply.  A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come from your own body.  The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you.’  Then God went up from him in the place where he had spoken with him.”  – Genesis 35:9-13

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