35 1Then God said to Jacob, “Go up to Betheland settle there, and build an altar there to God,who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.”
2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. 3 Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.” 4 So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the oak at Shechem. 5 Then they set out, and the terror of God fell on the towns all around them so that no one pursued them.
This chapter has some other important things in it: the renaming of Jacob, and Jacob’s parents (Isaac and Rebekah) die. However these beginning verses contain a beautiful display of who God is. God communicates with Jacob and continues mission even though Jacob had foreign gods sprinkled throughout his household. It seems Jacob is doing a mighty poor job of leading those who he is responsible for. Yet, our merciful God looks past those insufficiencies and still works with Jacob.
As a parent, pastor, and husband, the enemy will often shame me and try to keep me from ministry or following God due to the little things in my life. Though these people having foreign gods is no “little thing” it’s the same premise. The enemy is sly and will try to use whatever he can to keep us from being useful for the Lord. He will point out areas of concern in my children, congregation, or marriage and try to discourage me from it. He tries to convince me that since my children aren’t perfect or struggle with certain things maybe I am not able to do ministry. Now, certain things CAN hinder you from being useful in ministry. However, it is the Holy Spirit’s job to point those things out and tell you how to fix them. God will never say “you’re unable to walk with me” and never give you a solution or way to fix it. The enemy ALWAYS casts doubt/shame and leaves it at that.
Do not let Satan discourage you from being able to reach into his darkness and pull out the oppressed, suffering, and enslaved. God made us righteous and qualifies us by His Spirit!
God, thank You for working in my life and using me to share Your truth to other’s freeing them from the grasps of the enemy. Protect my mind from being led astray by the enemy. Help me to not stop progressing due to his lies. Keep me focused on You Lord. Amen.
Many great warriors for the Lord are rendered useless because they allow their mind, and in turn ministry, to become misled by the enemy. Encourage other’s that their identity is in Christ not themselves!! God is not evaluating our usefulness based upon their perfection, but on our connection to Christ. Assure those around you that the enemy will find numerous reasons why they cannot share the Gospel… and he is right if they are only evaluating their ability based upon themselves. Instead, we look to the Lord who qualified us based upon HIS righteousness. That’s the Good News!