OceanSide church of Christ
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TO BETHEL AND BEYOND
Victor M. Eskew
I. The Title of Genesis 35
A. To Bethel and Beyond
B. Winding Down Jacob’s History
II. The Key Verse of Genesis 35: Genesis 35:11-12
And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; and the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.
Why this verse? Many things have happened since the first time God made pro-mises to Jacob (Gen. 28:13-15). God assures him again of His promises after many years and many trying experiences.
III. The Outline of Genesis 35
i. BETHEL (Gen. 35:1-15)
ii. EPHRATH (Gen. 35:16-26)
iii. MAMRE (Gen. 35:27-29)
IV. The Lessons of Genesis 35
A. God desires for men to go to the “house of God” and worship Him (Gen. 35:1).
And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fledest from the face of Esau thy brother.
1. Bethel means “house of God.”
2. When Jacob arrived there, he was to build an altar. Altars are for the purpose of worship.
B. Before one can worship the God of heaven properly, he must remove all of his idols from his life (Gen. 35:2).
And Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments.
1. In this case, the idols were literal idols (See Gen. 31:19).
And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father’s.
2. Whatever we put before God and whatever keeps us from God is an idol within our hearts: self, family, work, pleasure, etc.
C. All of our “strange gods” need to be buried and left behind (Gen. 35:4).
And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their land, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.
D. God protects His people (Gen. 35:5).
And they journeyed: and terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.
1. It seems that Jacob’s fears were right (Gen. 34:30).
2. However, God in some way struck fear in to the hearts of the residents of the surrounding cities and they did not pursue after Israel and his sons. Most believe this was done some through powerful occurrence by God.
a. Keil and Delitzch refer to is as a “supernatural terror” (e-sword.com).
b. Clarke calls it “a supernatural awe sent by the Almighty” (e-sword.com).
c. Morris merely states: “In some way, however, God prevented this.”
E. Just as Jacob was an obedient Patriarch, so must we be (Gen. 35:6-7).
So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is Bethel, he and all the people that were with him. And he built an altar, and called the place El-beth-el: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother.
1. When God said to worship Him in the house of God, and not to forsake the assembly, we should obey (Heb. 10:25).
2. El-beth-el means “the strong God of the house of God.”
F. Care-givers are deeply missed when they pass away (Gen. 35:8).
But Deborah Rebekah’s nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allon-bacuth.
1. The name Allon-bachuth means “The Oak of Weeping.”
2. Deborah went with Rebekah when she left her father’s house (Gen. 24:59).
And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant, and his men.
3. When did she come back to Jacob’s household?
a. When Esau reunited with Jacob.
b. During one of Jacob’s visits with his father.
G. The repetition of God’s promises does not make them any more sure, but it does strengthen the servant of God (Gen. 35:9-13).
And the Lord appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padan-aram, and blessed him.
H. In the house of God, many wonderful things happen to man (Gen. 35:13).
And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel.
I. Wonderful experiences in life can be followed by tragedy (Gen. 35:16, 19).
And they journeyed from Bethel, and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labor…And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which was in Bethlehem.
J. Some events in life are coupled with both joy and sadness (Gen. 35:18-19).
And it came to pass, as her soul was departing, (for she died) that she called his name Ben-omi: but his father called him Benjamin. And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.
K. Death is the separation of the soul from the body (Gen. 35:18).
And it came to pass, as her soul was departing, (for she died)…
L. After the death of a loved one, the living move on (gen. 35:21).
And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar.
M. Within families, it is possible for children to commit grievous sins against their parents (Gen. 35:22).
And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in the land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine: and Israel heard it.
N. Some individuals are blessed to be present when a parent passes from this life (Gen. 35:27-29a).
And Jacob came unto Isaac his father…and Isaac gave up the ghost, and died.
O. We are glad to see Jacob and Esau united as they bury their father (Gen. 35:29).
…And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.
1. We are not told specifically where Isaac was buried in this text.
2. In Genesis 49:31, we learn that he was buried in the cave of Machpelah.
There they burned Abraham and Sarah his wife; there thy buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah.