October 16, 2020

Never Left Alone

Genesis 35:1-15

“I will build an altar to God . . . who has been with me wherever I have gone.”

—  Genesis 35:3

Sometimes we don’t fully understand an event until we have the wisdom of hindsight.

Many years earlier, as he fled for his life, Jacob had experienced a vision of God at Bethel (Genesis 28:10-22). He had heard God’s promise to watch over him wherever he would go. Then later, while returning to his homeland, Jacob again encountered God and received a new identity: Israel, “one who wrestles with God” yet receives blessing (Genesis 32:22-32).

Now both experiences come together as Jacob leads his family back to Bethel for a time of worship and renewal before God. Previously Jacob’s experiences of God were solitary and personal. Now he shares his testimony of God’s faithfulness with his household, calling them to wrestle with repentance and faith too.

Perhaps you, like Jacob, have had a long and roundabout journey with God. Maybe you always sensed that God was there, but then in hindsight you have seen how faithful God has been. In spite of our sins and scheming ways, God always proves ready to forgive and bless anyone who comes humbly before him, receiving their new identity given by grace through Christ.

If you have met God and experienced his faithfulness, are you ready to share the story of his grace? Invite others to join you in worship and service to the faithful God today.

Lord, give us a sense of wonder so that we may comprehend your faithfulness to us. Renew us, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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