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Genesis 35:1-15

Genesis 35:1-15


Sermon: Full Circle
Bible Passage: Genesis 35:1-15

About Jacob

1. A deceiver, true to his name (27:36; 31:26)
2. A fugitive for decades (27:43)
3. A trickster by nature (30:43)
4. A man who lived with constant fear and negative consequences because of his deeds (31:11)
5. A family of unpleasant track record
6. Despite his deception and trickery, God met Jacob in Bethel and made a covenant with him (28:10-15)

a. The story of Jacob is not about how good, righteous, and religious Jacob was
b. But it is all about God who sovereignly chose Isaac and worked through his sinful, messed up life
c. So that, he will not take credit for his life, but worshipfully attribute everything to God—it’s a preview of the Gospel

7. Through harshness of life over many decades, God protected Jacob in his journey from Beersheba to Padan Aram and back to Shechem-Bethel (31:42)

a. God blessed Jacob with wives, children, and wealth
b. God helped Jacob to mature as a man
c. God protected Jacob from Laban and Esau

8. God brought Jacob to a full circle by bringing him to Bethel where his journey started (35:1)—Bethel reminded Jacob of many things

a. Bethel reminded Jacob’s deception and God’s forgiveness of him (verse 1; 28:10-15)
b. Bethel reminded Jacob of God’s sovereign, graceful covenant and promise
c. Bethel provided Jacob and his family with a new beginning—with the building of an altar (35:1)

i. In verse 35:3 Let us go up at once to Bethel. Then I will make an altar there to God, who responded to me in my time of distress and has been with me wherever I went”

d. Bethel is the place of giving thanks to God who responded to him in his distress time and the One Who had been with him all through his journey

9. Jacob made spiritual preparations to go to Bethel (35:3-8)

a. He got rid of the foreign gods (35:2)

i. Verse 2 Jacob told his household and all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods you have among you. Purify yourselves and change your clothes
ii. Verse 4: So, they gave Jacob all the foreign gods that were in their possession and the rings that were in their ears
iii. Jacob buried them under the oak near Shechem  and they started on their journey (35:4)
iv. The entire family participated in this occasion

b. He built an altar there and named the place El Bethel because there God had revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother (35:7)

10. God appeared to Jacob again just as He revealed to him at the beginning of his journey (35:9-12)—after a full circle, a new journey begins

a. God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but your name will no longer be called Jacob; Israel will be your name” So God named him Israel
b. Then God said to him, “I am the Sovereign God. Be fruitful and multiply! A nation—even a company of nations—will descend from you; kings will be among your descendants!
c. The land I gave to Abraham, and Isaac I will give to you. To your descendants I will also give this land
d. God turned Jacob into Israel—a nation

11. This sounds like what we read in Ephesians 2:1-10

a. Verse 5 even though we were dead in offenses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you are saved!
b. Verse 6 and he raised us up together with him and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
c. Verse 7 to demonstrate in the coming ages the surpassing wealth of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus
d. Verse 10 For we are his creative work, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them

Take Away:

Through confession and repentance, put away those things that are incompatible with your relationship with God

Speaker: William J. Subash

Born and raised in south India, William J. Subash became a follower of Jesus Christ in 1983 at the age of nineteen. After a brief career in a tea and coffee plantation, Subash decided to spend rest of his life to preach about Jesus and his life-transforming message of God, which is popularly known as “the Gospel.” Subash teaches New Testament Studies at two institutions: SAIACS in India and Liberty University Online, VA, USA. Currently, Subash serves as the chief point person for GROW Gospel Initiatives and the Lead Pastor of the Crossroad Church, Bangalore. Write to him at