Peter Barnes: Genesis 35
SERMON NOTES: ‘O GOD OF BETHEL’ (Genesis 35)
Jacob is called back to Bethel where he first met God – read 28:12, 19; 35:1. Bethel was south of Shechem but higher in elevation. Philip Doddridge prays to the God of Bethel:
Through each perplexing path of life
Our wandering footsteps guide.
- Renewal means to put away idols.
– 35:2-4. This is surprising: what were they doing with idols? See also Joshua 24:23-26. Calvin said that the human mind was a factory constantly manufacturing idols.
– Acts 19:19. William Cowper:
The dearest idol I have known,/ Whate’er that idol be,/ Help me to tear it from Thy throne,/ And worship only Thee.
- There remains grief and sin.
– three deaths in this chapter: Rebekah’s nurse, Deborah (35:8); Rachel in childbirth (35:16-20; recall 30:1, 22-24); his father, Isaac (35:27-29).
– if the grief of death is terrible, the grief of sin is worse – 35:22. Jacob never forgets – 49:3-4.
- Yet the God of Bethel upholds His people.
– God protected Jacob’s band in this journey – 35:5. He then reaffirms His promises – (a) blessing (v.9); (b) a new name (v.10), as in 32:28;
(c) a nation (v.11). Note the addition of kings; (d) land (v.12).
– 35:7. ‘God of the house of God’. Philip Doddridge’s hymn:
O God of Bethel! by whose hand
Thy people still are fed;
Who through this weary pilgrimage
Hast all our fathers led.