Make an Altar unto God! (Gen 35:1-15)
Speaker: Pr Joshua Yong
Date: 28 Jun 2020

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Sermon notes taken by:

Anthony Cheng

God wanted Jacob to go to Bethel, but he detoured to Succoth and to Shechem. In Shechem, his daughter was raped, and he almost made an agreement with the Canaanites which displeased God. Jacob had forgotten his encounters with God and had gone off track. Have you also gone off-track and are not in God’s will? Are you distracted by worldly ambitions or entertainments? Are you where God wants you to be? The Lord spoke to Jacob to bring him back on track: “Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there” (Gen 35:1). And God wanted Jacob to build an altar at Bethel. An altar is simply a structure made up of stones and soil for worship or for a memorial unto God. There are three things one has to make right before making an altar unto God.

1.   Make sure you are in the right state. It was Jacob’s failing that led his family into idolatry. By the grace of God, Jacob woke up and realized it was time for them to purify themselves. So, he told his household to put away all the strange gods (Gen 35:2). Jacob acknowledged how God had taken care of him (Gen 35:3). He forsook their idols, earrings, etc by hiding them under the oak tree. What are the “idols” in your life? They can be spiritual idols, like ungodly relationships/friendships that take your heart away from God. Forsake them so that you can worship the Lord with clean hands and pure hearts.

2.   Make the altar in the right place. Are you where God wants you to be? You may be serving in church, but it may not be what God wants you to do. It could be a job or something else that is not pleasing to God. Be at the right place. God protected Jacob from the people around them (Gen 35:5).

3,   Make the altar in the right way. Jacob had to make sure the direction ahead was the right way. In Genesis 35:9, God appeared to Jacob again after he built the altar in Bethel, and blessed him. God repeated His covenant with Jacob in Genesis 35:10-12 because Jacob had lost sight of his covenant. God wanted Jacob to obey Him. Jacob depended too much on himself, by his cunning ways. The lesson for us is to be in God’s will and way. In Genesis 35:13, God talked with Jacob. Will you continue to walk in the way that God wants you to go? This is what consecration is all about, to surrender to Him and to obey Him.

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