God provides generational protection when we offer our full obedience.

Psalm 63 describes a saint who needs refreshment. Jacob receives spiritual refreshment from the Lord in Genesis 35 as he gets right with God and continues to make progress.

Sometimes we take ourselves to the desert. Jacob stayed too long in Shechem, and his family developed disobedient habits of violence and idolatry. But God’s grace always sustains His children. The Lord had promised a Savior through future generations of Jacob’s family. He called Jacob back to obedience, and Jacob responded with a tender heart.

Spiritual revitalization is essential in all our lives.

Genesis 35:1 is the fifth time that God has spoken to Jacob. In the Bible, the number 5 is the number of God’s grace, the same grace that saves and sustains believers. What God commands, He also supplies the divine ability for us to do.

When God renews us with His grace, He:

  • reminds us of His promises. (verse 9)

    God brought Jacob back to His Word which is the source of spiritual renewal. God’s unconditional promises don’t change even when we walk away. They are permanent. We can get caught up in what we do or don’t have, what we can or can’t do – but like Jacob, we need to remember that we are headed for an eternal city.
  • restores our faith for living.

    Jacob and his family are repurposed to continue spiritual pursuits. God’s promises of future kings and land given to Israel’s descendants were not ultimately about those physical blessings – they pointed to one King, a Messiah to come much later. Jacob’s family was found obeying.
  • restores our dedication to former, right things.

    The idols and clothing that Jacob tells his family to put aside went together as signs that they had begun to assimilate into Shechem’s culture too much. Not only discarding the false gods, they were to totally disassociate with the idol-worshipping culture.

    We have no Gospel unless it transforms our whole life (1 Thessalonians 5:23). There are things in the world that we can enjoy, but there are also things that completely contradict the desires of a pure and holy God.
  • reminds us of increased responsibility.

    Jacob has been given more responsibility as he’s grown more mature in the Lord. He has a large family and many servants and goods to care for. As he walks with God, renewed by the Word, God gives him grace enough to fulfill these responsibilities.
  • reminds us that life is short.

    Three deaths left deep voids in Jacob’s life – the godly examples of Deborah (the maid of Rebekah) and his father Isaac, and his wife Rachel, the love of Jacob’s life. Yet God’s grace is still enough to allow Jacob – and us – to persevere in the face of loss. We honor these saints and God by mirroring their lives ourselves.
Spiritual renewal is possible in all our lives.

God reminded Jacob of his name in verse 10 to bring him back to the basics. There are times when we all need to embrace the fundamental truths of the Gospel again.

Jacob had to be willing to get rid of some barriers to his own and his family’s obedience, the idols we already referenced. This shows the necessity for us as believers of “shedding some things that are blatant contradictions to a professing faith, shedding those things that would produce conflict in your walk with the Lord, and ridding your life of those things that contaminate your soul.” We must not let anything keep us from following God’s will.

As they continued on, Jacob’s family faced the consequences of their time of drifting in Shechem. The surrounding people didn’t know they had cleaned house and were terrified of Jacob’s sons’ violent reputation.

Application Points

  • What material blessings has God given you? Jobs, vehicles, income, places to go – all are opportunities to be stewarded for spiritual purposes (see Luke 16:9). This primarily includes reproducing yourself by leading another to the Lord. Do you have a friend in the community who you know so well that your heart is burdened in prayer for their eternal destiny?
  • What promises of God can you hold onto? Consider making a list to remind yourself when you start to be allured by the things of the world. You are destined for an eternal city.
  • Have any barriers formed between you and obedience to God? Have sinful habits from your former lifestyle crept back into your life? Are you getting comfortable and enjoying what Shechem or the world has to offer? If so, ask yourself why? Return to consistent reading of Scripture and spending time on your knew in prayer.

Tools for Further Study

A Hymn to Encourage: “A Passion for Thee”

Set my heart, O dear Father,
On Thee, and Thee only,
Give me a thirst for Thy presence divine.
Lord, keep my focus on loving Thee wholly,
Purge me from earth; Turn my heart after Thine.

A passion for Thee;
O Lord, set a fire in my soul, and a thirst for my God.
Hear Thou my prayer, Lord, Thy power impart.
Not just to serve, but to love Thee with all of my heart.

Father fill with Thy Spirit, and fit me for service,
Let love for Christ every motive inspire,
Teach me to follow in selfless submission,
Be Thou my joy and my soul’s one desire.