Thursday, April 13, 2017

little footnote, huge difference

(written by Pastor Joe)
The Word for today: Genesis 33
mark this- Genesis 33:20 --
"There he set up an altar and called it El Elohe Israel."
Sometimes it is good to have connections. If you're searching for a coveted job, or trying to get into an exclusive college, or looking to make it in Hollywood or Washington DC, then most likely your connections will take you further than any real competency you possess. This is how the world operates. But not so the Kingdom of God.
All the connections in the world cannot connect you to God. There are no stand-ins, substitutes, or representatives that can take your place. Your soul is your own responsibility.
Jacob had to learn this lesson the long and hard way.
He certainly knew about God, and even had intense and personal experiences with God.
- Dream of the ladder (28:10-18)
- Command to return home (31:3-13)
- Met personally by the angels of God (32:1)
- Famous wrestling match with God (32:30)
But notice in every instance prior to this chapter, when Jacob refers to God, he does so by proxy. He acknowledges God, but it's never his own God. Look at these examples from Jacobs words:
"The God of my father has been with me (1)."
"If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me...(2)"
So Jacob took an oath in the name of the Fear of his father Isaac (3).
"O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O LORD... (4) "
The change happens in the last line of this chapter.
So what's the big deal with "El Elohe Israel?"
Check your footnote! The phrase means- God, the God of Israel
(or possibly, the Mighty God of Israel).
In either case, the significance is that Jacob's name was recently changed to Israel (5), and this is the first time in Jacob's life where he acknowledges God as his personal God. There's no longer any reference to Abraham or Isaac. No more spiritual nepotism. He finally stands on his own. He finally understands that he needs to relate to God on his own.
Finally, after so many years, the relentless God of his daddy Isaac and grandpa Abraham becomes his own God. Notice that God Himself did not change, but Jacob's understanding and relationship with God did. That is the same journey that each person must make in our relationship to God:
From secondhand to first hand
From theoretical to actual
From distant to personal
From the God of my _____________, to My God
The all powerful, all knowing Creator and Sustainer of the universe wants to know you personally. He sent His one and only Son to make this possible. He has invited each of us to His Kingdom. But no one enters into the Kingdom of God through another person. There is no second-hand faith that saves anyone. We all can be immensely blessed and influenced by godly people in our lives. But no connection to a father, a mother, a spouse, a grandparent, a relative, a pastor or a friend will qualify. "There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (6)." We come to God through Him or not at all.
(1) Genesis 31:5
(2) Genesis 31:42
(3) Genesis 31:53
(4) Genesis 32:9
(5) Genesis 32:28
(6) 1 Timothy 2:5

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