Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Genesis 35:9-15

My goodness, we have a world that is shaking! The stock market is nosediving after the downgrading of U.S. credit; video of rioting and looting and burning in the streets of London and throughout the world is all over the news; we suffered the tragic loss of the 30+ soldiers and Navy Seals this week in Afghanistan; personal friends and family are dealing with catastrophic health issues and the loss of loved ones. Many friends and neighbors are losing their homes to foreclosure. This year we watched in shock as Japan was shaken to its very core by the earthquake and tsunami, political leaders across the Middle East were thrown out, and parts of the U.S. were ripped apart by tornadoes and floods. In Norway we saw scores of people senselessly gunned down by a madman. In Texas they are suffering from a paralyzing drought and excessive, record-setting heat. In Somalia thousands of people are days away from starvation. We just witnessed an appalling lack of political leadership and will as the members of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, once again, refused to do what they need to do - then went on vacation in search of funds for the next election! And Israel stands alone in the middle of enemies who seek to destroy her. What is going on??? Ye gads! LORD, please come quickly!!!

Surely we are in scary times! But this is just what the LORD told us would happen before His return (see Matthew 24 and Luke 21). Could it be far away? One thing is certain: it is closer today than it was yesterday. So, how then do we live? How do we show ourselves to be different from the world? We are to be people of hope. We are to be looking up for our redemption. More than ever we need to claim and demonstrate that peace that passes all understanding. How can we do it? Because our God will never be shaken, therefore, we can remain unshaken! What is it that is currently shaking your world? Is it financial disaster? Marital trouble or even divorce? Cancer? Job loss? The end of a friendship? Take comfort in the following verses:

I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 16:8)

He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken... He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 62:2,6)

And here is the one I love the most:

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:10)

Though everything around us is falling apart, He will NEVER be shaken in His love for us! His unfailing love endures forever!!! He does NOT forget His covenants, and in today’s passage from Genesis 35, He reminds Jacob of His covenant with him:

After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram, God appeared to him again and blessed him. God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.” So he named him Israel.

And God said to him, “I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will come from your body. The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.” Then God went up from him at the place where he had talked with him.

Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. Jacob called the place where God had talked with him Bethel. (Gen 35:9-15)

Jon Courson points out that in this passage God reminds Jacob that he has been given by God a “personal name,” [going from Jacob, the con man to Israel, the one who struggles with God], he has been promised “personal fame,” [he’ll be fruitful and powerful], and he has been guaranteed the land as a “perpetual claim.” [Don’t you love three-point outlines??? :) ]

Beth Moore notes that Jacob, who has acknowledged at this point that his focus needs to be on the God of the House of God, has been reintroduced in this encounter to God as El Shaddai, or God Almighty. She writes, “A new season is coming in which Jacob would need to know above all things that he was a changed man. He needed to be certain that God was his mighty mountain, and His promises were true. Maybe you need to know the same thing today. No matter what trial rocks your house or what crisis erupts within it, ask the God of your house to stand up and show Himself mighty. He alone builds a house that cannot be moved.” (The Patriarchs, Pg. 162)

Are we in the midst of a new season in our world? It certainly seems so! While it can be scary to see the world as we knew it unravel, we can be completely certain that our God Almighty holds it in His secure hands. He is still in control, He is moving things into place as part of His master plan, and we know that we will not be shaken.

I was looking at a video today of a lone black man in London who was standing up to the looters and calling them out for their hypocrisy. I wondered, would I stand up like that? Then I realized, the time is coming when we will HAVE to stand up. We will have to be courageous - something that is only possible in the strength of the LORD. We need to be preparing our minds and our hearts for the days ahead. We need to put on the whole armor of God DAILY if we are going to be ready, whether for a global crisis or a personal one. 


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the reminder needed TODAY of WHO God is and what His character means to those who believe. I needed TRUTH that His love for me will never change and although I may seem to be restless (emotionally) HE IS MY ROCK AND SALVATION.

    I recently bought spiral bound index cards to keep God's truth handy. Today's verses have taken up some space for future reminders!!

    Again, thank you!!!