|Genesis 31:44-45 (AMP)|
|44 So come now, let us make a covenant, you and I, and let it serve as a witness between you and me.” 45 So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a [memorial] pillar.|
|There’s a few keywords that we should pay attention to in this scripture today. ‘Covenant‘ – meaning that a firm agreement has been established between two or more people that is firmly rooted and cannot be undone. Secondly, ‘Memorial Pillar‘ or monument, as some translations calls it. These are generally put in place as a reminder of the covenant made, and will generally help the parties return to recognition of, and obedience to, the original covenant.|
|I find it interesting that today we still practice some of the same principles taught to us by our ancestors in scripture, such as we are looking at today. It just appears like we have relaxed the idea behind these principles. Let’s consider: (1) Covenant – on our wedding day, we make a covenant with our spouse in God’s presence, inviting Him to be a part of our partnership. However we hear of divorces in as early as three months after making that serious covenant. (2) Memorial/Pillar/Monument – sticking with the marriage idea, let’s recognize the wedding ring as a memorial, or pillar, or monument, that we put in place to remind us of the covenant we agreed to on our wedding day. Don’t couples choose to pitch the ring if another Mr. Right or Ms. Perfect comes along? How about our relationship with the Lord? Don’t we sometimes tend to do the same thing with God as we do with our other commitments (covenants)? Isn’t the easiest thing to do when someone ignores us at church, is to abandon our covenant with God? Friends, Laban and Jacob had some very precious jewels that would be impacted if there was a division between the two of them, so it was incumbent upon them to find a resolution, and set some parameters and markers to remind them, should they ever be tempted to make snap decisions in the future. This is a good reminder for us, for when we break covenants, or when we ignore parameters and/or monuments that were erected to protect us, we are also impacting other innocent Brothers and Sisters. After all, what impact might there be for a pastor or a Bible teacher to break the confidence of a congregation or a class by openly displaying a breach of covenant they once made with a spouse, or a church or a body of believers? It is often devastating. May I remind you that the same thing happens in the lives of any believer, for we never know who is following in our footsteps or are encouraged by our ministry or our walk with the Lord. Our challenge here today is to continue making covenants, continue including God in the mix, as our helper, protector and guide, and to stay true to our covenant. Establish markers or monuments or pillars to remind us, and help keep us accountable to the covenant we once made, God being our helper.|
|Lord, You are our example. You loved us enough that You came to this world to live among us and see the struggles that we face every day. You died for us, so that we would have no excuse or hindrance in surrendering our lives to You. In everything You kept Your word and showed us the importance of doing the same. Please forgive us for the many times that we mess up on our commitments. Lord, we realize more every day how much we need You to hold our hand and help us along in our weakness. May You find us faithful Lord, and may we always live up to our covenant to be Your follower and to be a witness here on earth, right up to the time that You are ready to call us home with You. Thank You Lord Jesus for setting the example for us. May we strive daily to live in Your footsteps. AMEN!|
|There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!|
Scripture: Genesis 33-35
OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)
14 Jacob set up a stone pillar to mark the place where God had spoken to him. Then he poured wine over it as an offering to God and anointed the pillar with olive oil.15 And Jacob named the place Bethel (which means “house of God”), because God had spoken to him there. Gen 35:14-15 (NLT)
APPLICATION (How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)
Jacob went to Bethel because he was reminded of how God revealed Himself to him there when he originally escaped from his brother Esau over 20 years earlier. While there the second time, God gave Jacob a new name, Israel, gave him renewed strength to repopulate the land, and gave him much of the land that He (God) had once given to Abraham and Isaac. I got the impression that God was giving Jacob/Israel a new beginning, and telling him “Now go and get busy for me”. We just celebrated the beginning of a New Year. It started much like the old year ended, without much ado. It sure would have been nice to, and probably is not too late to, recommit ourselves to God as His children looking to restart our respective ministries and seek God’s direction for what He would have us do this year with all that He has blessed us with. I believe that if each of us reflect on the blessings that God has showered on us over the past year, then plant a marker to remind us of those blessings, then in all earnest seek to be involved in God’s direction for more successes in 2011, our churches would not be able to contain the overflow of His blessings. I feel like we need to set aside our personal agendas and ‘business as usual’ attitudes, and be willing to let God work mightily through us. We know the awesome spiritual needs of our community, and we believe that we know the God who holds all the answers to all of life’s problems and shortcomings. This is the same God that we, as Christians, have accepted as our King. Let’s let go of our selfish desires and let God perform miracles in and through us, so that His work can be accomplished in our community.
PRAYER (With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)
Praise be to God for His mighty hand and for all that He does for me each and every day. In being reminded of how You worked in the past dear God, I pray that You will again work in and through me and my church, and the churches of my community. There is no reason for us to have lost people in this community, or sinful acts a part of our neighborhood, for You are more powerful than anything or anyone else that we know. You are bigger than all these problems and challenges that we see, and You hold the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. I pray that You will find me faithful. I pray that You will find all those that worship You each week around Avon Park, Florida, willing and ready to bow before You, recognize Your Lordship and Your Kingship and that we will get off our personal thrones and allow You to be God, while we, as Your humble servants, stand ready to let You use us to do greater things for the Kingdom than we ever thought possible. May this be a year that we will look on as a ‘marker’ that future generations will come back to spiritually when they want to be reminded of Your power and move on a people and a community. Begin a renewed work in me, dear Lord, is my humble prayer.