Jacob: Finding Your Way Back Home

Jacob: Finding Your Way Back Home

This is Rita Marquez’ sermon from Sunday, August 16, 2015. The scripture is Genesis 35:1-15. In our service we read from the New Revised Standard Version and from The Message, a modern interpretation by Eugene Peterson. We read both with the hope that our understanding will be enriched.

This is from The Message:
1God spoke to Jacob: “Go back to Bethel. Stay there and build an altar to the God who revealed himself to you when you were running for your life from your brother Esau.” 2Jacob told his family and all those who lived with him, “Throw out all the alien gods which you have, take a good bath and put on clean clothes, 3we’re going to Bethel. I’m going to build an altar there to the God who answered me when I was in trouble and has stuck with me everywhere I’ve gone since.” 4They turned over to Jacob all the alien gods they’d been holding on to, along with their lucky-charm earrings. Jacob buried them under the oak tree in Shechem. 5Then they set out. A paralyzing fear descended on all the surrounding villages so that they were unable to pursue the sons of Jacob. 6Jacob and his company arrived at Luz, that is, Bethel, in the land of Canaan. 7He built an altar there and named it El-Bethel (God-of-Bethel) because that’s where God revealed himself to him when he was running from his brother. 8 And that’s when Rebekah’s nurse, Deborah, died. She was buried just below Bethel under the oak tree. It was named Allon-Bacuth (Weeping-Oak). 9God revealed himself once again to Jacob, after he had come back from Paddan Aram and 10blessed him: “Your name is Jacob (Heel); but that’s your name no longer. From now on your name is Israel (God-Wrestler).” 11God continued, I am The Strong God. Have children! Flourish! A nation—a whole company of nations!— will come from you. Kings will come from your loins; 12the land I gave Abraham and Isaac I now give to you, and pass it on to your descendants. 13 And then God was gone, ascended from the place where he had spoken with him. 14Jacob set up a stone pillar on the spot where God had spoken with him. He poured a drink offering on it and anointed it with oil. 15Jacob dedicated the place where God had spoken with him, Bethel (God’s-House).

The New Revised Standard Version can be found here.