Yesterday, we discussed the importance of prioritizing family when seeking God to release us into our prophetic destinies. We explored how Jacob immensely failed in this area regarding Dinah. However, we serve a God of redemption, and today, I want to look at what God and Jacob did to restore proper balance in Genesis 35.
It appears Jacob finally gets the brilliant idea to consult God on the entire issue, and while Scripture does not record his prayer, we do find God’s response. Remember Bethel? Where Jacob first encountered God? Where angels descended and ascended to heaven? God tells Jacob to return to that place and settle there (Gen. 35:1). The idea is that God is telling Jacob to return to the site where he entered into covenant with God, where he first obtained the promise, and dwell or “sit down.” God is putting Jacob in what I term a “Divine Time-Out.” It’s during this time that Jacob begins to take charge of his family.
In Genesis 35:2b-3, Jacob states,
“Get rid of your foreign gods that are among you.
Purify yourselves and change your clothes. We must get up and go to Bethel. I will build an altar there to the God who answered me in my day of distress. He has been with me everywhere I have gone.”
So, when we screw up, we see a pattern we can emulate in Jacob.
- Rid ourselves of any idolatry, including any misconceptions we may have of our own importance.
- Consecrate ourselves to God, reminding ourselves that when we repent, we become clothed in the righteousness of Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).
- We enter into covenantal worship.
When Jacob’s household followed his instructions, the fear of God came upon the surrounding people that no one pursued them, despite his sons’ actions.
Please notice that he returned to Luz, where the promise was made to Abraham and later with Jacob. Returning is a powerful thing in Scripture. Whenever we forsake the world and return to God, we are realigning ourselves with God’s plans and purposes for our life, as well as our family. Notice, too, that Jacob didn’t change the name; instead, he retained it, knowing that revelation knowledge comes out of covenant relationship (Gen. 35:7). Once more, God appears to Jacob, and His appearance is lovely, teaching us something of God’s character and nature.
In this moment, where Jacob is undoubtedly feeling shame and remorse, God appears and reemphasizes that He still calls Jacob by his new name – Israel. Praise God; He doesn’t abandon us at our lowest point! Rather, God reiterates who He is in Him. Not only that, God reiterates that the calling is for the entirety of the family. Yes, even those hard-hearted boys who were out for blood! God repeats His promise of land to Jacob. You see, repentance isn’t a punishment. It is a gift. It is a gift of reconciliation to God Almighty, who then, instead of giving us what we so justly deserve, reinforces our new identity in Him. The key is always repentance.
In this context, Jacob once again sets up a marker, pours out a drink offering, and anoints it with oil. We repent, God comes near, and we come to a significant realization that God alone is worthy. Like the Apostle Paul, we must be poured out like a drink offering, and our names become of little or no significance, no matter what our prophetic destiny holds. Like streams in a desert absorbed by the sand, so too, our lives must be poured out in faith, no matter the sacrifice, trusting that God will take it and use it all for His glory (2 Tim. 4:6).
Jacob learned his lesson well, because immediately following this encounter with God, his beloved Rachel dies in childbirth. Rather than leaving her son with the name Ben-oni, Son of My Sorrow, Jacob refuses to allow his son to be identified with the situation surrounding his birth as Jacob had been. Jacob renames his son, Benjamin, meaning Son of the Right Hand. At this moment, Jacob truly begins to step into his prophetic destiny as Israel – when he acts towards his son in the same manner God has worked in him by providing Benjamin with a new name. What a beautiful picture of the redemptive power of a parent’s love! You, as a parent, can redefine what is transpiring in your home by acting towards your spouse and children as God has acted towards you. And notice it didn’t stop there. Afterward, Jacob returns to his father, Isaac, again prioritizing family and comes together with Esau to bury him. Jacob has come full circle, and God has made true on His promise to return Jacob home, making a place for him (Gen. 36:6-8).
Every foundational element you need for stepping into your prophetic destiny is not found outside but inside the four walls of your home. It takes character and determination coupled with the presence of God to lead a family. It is the first proving ground of all that God wants to release through you. In Deuteronomy 11:18-21, we are admonished,
“Therefore you shall lay these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.”
God doesn’t just care about what you do but about who you are at the most basic level, which is seen most clearly in familial relationships. Family matters. God’s desire is that you not only be blessed but that the blessing is multiplied exponentially with each generation. Remember, God’s plans and purposes transcend our lifetime, and it is our primary duty to see that covenantal relationship with the Lord is passed down by training and equipping our homes in the ways of God. If things are difficult in your home right now, remember, God doesn’t give up, neither should you. Jacob’s family survived murder and rape to walk out God’s plans and purposes for them. Yours can survive and thrive, too.
Father, I come before you today, purified by the blood of Jesus, to consecrate myself to You. Lord, I want to partner with you to see generations transformed by the cross’s saving power and renewed covenant relationship with You. I will begin with where I am, here at home. Give me the grace and wisdom to lead my family into covenant with You so that every new generation has a revelation of Your plans and purposes not only for them but for the world. I want our entire family to be known as world-changers. God, I pour out myself as a drink offering to Your service and what You desire. Please help me to learn this lesson well. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.