Let's Go Back
Let’s Go Back
Text: Genesis 35:1-15
Introduction: There are times in our life when we must stop and reconsider our relationship with the Lord, and we find that we need to recommit, rededicate, and return to the Lord. Without the daily interaction with the Lord we have a tendency to do things the way we want to or the way we feel would best suit our situation. However, our ways are not always the Lord’s ways.
In this story the Lord has spoken to Jacob. He has been instructed to go back to Bethel. The place where he had fled from the face of his brother Esau. Jacob commanded his household to build an altar, put away foreign gods, purify themselves, and change their garments. Then he said, “let us arise and go up to Bethel.”
We have been commanded to come out from among the world and to be a separate or a different kind of people. We need to be the people of God.
Ornithologists now know that the great albatross flies around the world several times in the course of its life. These birds can stand buffeting by ocean gales for days, but they become seasick if they stand on the deck of a moving ship.
The true Christian can go across the face of life, buffeted by all the winds of time and space, as long as he remembers that he is in the world but not of it. When he comes down and becomes a part of the movement of this world he loses his Christian joy and power, because he is entirely out of the element for which God created him.
In order to return to Bethel or the old paths where we know God desires for us to be, we must initiate some “steps” with God in the focus.
I. We must return to the Altar.
A. We must return to the altar of prayer. God was telling Jacob go back and do the same things you started out doing. Go back to the basics; go back to what works. Pray till you pray through, hunger and thirst after God.
B. We must return to the altar of praise. The more you praise Him the more He will bless you. We need to glorify and magnify God; God can’t get any bigger literally, for he is already sovereign, but we can make Him bigger in us. By praising Him, we show our appreciation for all that He has done, and He automatically becomes a bigger part of our lives.
C. We must return to the altar of power. We need to get hungry for the Holy Ghost again. We gain power through praying and praising God in the altars. We have the power available to us we just need to use it.
In a seminary missions class, Herbert Jackson told how, as a new missionary, he was assigned a car that would not start without a push.
After pondering his problem, he devised a plan. He went to the school near his home, got permission to take some children out of class, and had them push his car off. As he made his rounds, he would either park on a hill or leave his car running. He used this ingenious procedure to two years.
Ill health forced the Jackson family to leave, and a new missionary came to that station. When Jackson proudly began to explain his arrangement for getting the car started, the new man began looking under the hood. Before the explanation was complete, the new missionary interrupted, “Why Dr. Jackson, I believe the only trouble is this loose cable.” He gave the cable a twist, stepped into the car, pushed the switch, and to Jackson’s astonishment, the engine roared to life.
For two years needless trouble had become routine. The power was there all the time. Only a loose connection kept Jackson from putting the power to work.
J.B. Phillips paraphrases Ephesians 1:19-20, “How tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God”, when we make firm our connection with God, his life and power flow through us.
II. We need to put Away the Distractions of the world.
A. Put away worldly allurements and anything that takes your eyes off God. Don’t allow anything to come between you and God.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (I Jo. 2:15-17
B. Put away the sin that so easily besets you. Jacob knew how to please God; he had to first put away his Idols. He then told his family to purify themselves and put away sin. He also told them to change their garments; this act was designed to show a repentant heart.
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (I Cor. 7:1)
C. Put away the weights that drag us down. We should do as the Apostle Paul said, “Renew your mind” and “Think on good things.” Weights are not sin, but left unattended they will turn into sin.
Some people deny the reality of sin. But to do so is to deceive themselves (I John 1:8) and to make a liar of God (1:10). Others laugh at sin, but the Bible says that ‘fools make a mock of sin’ (Prov.14:9). Still other take pride in their sin (Isa. 3:9); Rom. 1:32). The most dangerous attitude toward sin is to tone down its awfulness. Psychology calls sin maladjustment; biology labels it a disease; ethics suggests that it is a moral lapse; philosophy regards it as a stumbling in the upward progress of the human race’ (Herschel H. Hobbs, Fundamentals of Our Faith [Nashville; Broadman Press. 1960], 64). But the Bible calls it sin.
III. We also need to listen for the Voice of God.
A. Listening means sometimes waiting. We must wait upon the Lord. His word is not only roadmap to righteousness, but it is a warning sign for life. Read your Bible and work on an intimate relationship with Jesus through he word.
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:21,22)
B. Listen for His encouragement. With all the problems that are in the world today we need His encouragement more than ever before. Sometimes we receive it through the word, and sometimes through tongues and interpretations or prophecy. Sometimes we receive it through someone’s testimony.
Therefore comfort one another with these words. I Thess. 4:18)
C. Listen for His Direction. We need to know where God wants to take our life. Many times through the preaching of God’s word, God will speak to our lives.
We need to listen to God; I imagine that God sometimes feels like former President Roosevelt once felt.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt got tired of smiling that big smile and saying the usual things at all those White House receptions. So, one evening he decided to find out whether anybody was paying attention to what he was saying. As each person came up to him with extended hand, he flashed that big smile and said; “I murdered my grandmother this morning.” People would automatically respond with comments such as “How lovely!” or “Just continue with your great work!” Nobody listened to what he was saying, except one foreign diplomat. When the president said, “I murdered my grandmother this morning,” the diplomat responded softly, “I’m sure she had it coming to her.”
Conclusion: There are many of us today who need to go back to bethel. Go back to the place where God first spoke to our heart. Let God know once more that He can count on you.
God told Jacob to go back and dwell there, go back to bethel and stay there. Bethel represented that place where we talk to God and He talks to us. He is longing for your return, for your close attention, for that special relationship where you and He walk hand in hand. We need that communication with God again.
Jed Harris, producer of Our Town and other plays, became convinced he was losing his hearing. He went to a specialist, who gave him a thorough checkup. The doctor pulled out a gold watch and asked, “Can you hear this ticking?” Harris said, “Of course.” The specialist walked to the door and held up the watch again. “Now can you hear it” Harris concentrated and said, “Yes, I can hear it clearly.” The doctor walked out he door into the next room and said, “Can you hear it now?” Harris said, “Yes”.
The doctor said, “Mr. Harris, there is nothing wrong with your hearing. You just don’t listen.”
It is time to listen to what God is saying. Make the necessary “steps” to get back in tune with the Lord. Go back to Bethel One More Time!