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  • Writer's pictureOlufunmilayo Adekusibe

OBEDIENCE AND HOLINESS ATTRACT GOD TO OUR HOUSEHOLDS


 

Today's Reading:

Genesis 35:1-15

" Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments:" (v. 2)

 


Obedience means compliance with an order, request, instruction, law or submission to another authority. Holiness is the quality or state of being holy, and holy means separated from the world of sin, darkness, the devil and his hosts; being in the realm of the sacred, in contrast with things that are common and profane; denotes separation from (sin) and separation unto (God).


The Scripture reveals a lot about the holiness of God, which refers to the absolute moral priority of God, and also the absolute moral distance between God and his human creatures. 1Sam 2:2 says that there is no one holy like our God. God is said to be majestic in holiness (Ex. 15:11), and his eyes are too pure to look upon evil [unholiness] (Heb 1:13). As regards where God resides, Isaiah 57:15 tells us that God dwells in a high and holy place, where the four beasts and angels in heaven are saying ceaselessly "holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty (Rev. 4:8).


The children of Israel, after their miraculous escape from the Red Sea, sang in Exodus 15:11 " who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? Glorious in holiness, fearful in praises.... " The Psalmist in Chapter 99 verse 5 says “God is holy”. Jacob was instructed by God in our Today's reading, verse one, to go up to Bethel and dwell there, and also make an altar to God there. God reminded him that He had in the past appeared to him in that same place, when he was running away from his brother Esau, whose birthright he had stolen. It is instructive to note that Jacob never argued with God, and neither did his household argue with him, when he too instructed them. The first step Jacob took while preparing towards building the altar, was to instruct his household to make themselves holy, by putting away the strange gods/idols among them, to clean themselves up (from all sins, unholiness), and change their clothes/garments (symbol is cleansing). No doubt, Jacob must have learnt this act of "holiness" before appearing before God, from his fore-fathers (Abraham and Isaac). The Book of Leviticus talks at length about how the high priest, priests and common Israelites were to cleanse themselves, before appearing at the Tabernacle of God. An elaborate ceremony was further required from the high priest before he could enter the holy-of-holies, where the Ark of God resided. He instantly died if found unholy. God had said in Leviticus 19:2 that He was holy, and the people should be holy too.


In order for the household of Jacob to appear holy at the altar, they cooperated in verse 4, by giving their idols and even earrings (symbol of idolatry) to Jacob, who buried them under an oak tree in Shechem. Holiness is required at the altar made for God (Psalm 11:4, Hab.2:20). No doubt, we serve a God who is a great rewarder. See below the benefits that accrued to Jacob and his household, from their obedience and act of holiness:

  • Divine protection, as God put his terror on cities around, as they journeyed to Bethel (v.5)

  • Complete journey mercies, no disaster, no one missing

  • God's presence was fully with them, as He appeared to Jacob (v.7)

  • God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from Padan-Aram and blessed him (v.9)

  • Jacob’s name was changed (from being a supplanter), to Israel, which means “one who prevails with God"

  • God pronounced that Jacob be fruitful, multiply, and that a nation and a company of nations shall come out of him, and kings would come out of his loins (v12). This was an inheritance sworn to his fore-fathers, now given to him and his household

  • Jacob set up a pillar of stone at the place where God talked to him and was able to offer a drink offering there and pour oil on it. He and his household worshipped God at the altar he set up for him (v14)

  • Jacob named the place "Bethel", meaning ' House of God".

In our dispensation, God likewise instructs us to be holy as He is holy (1Pet. 1:15-16), and to be obedient in all things (Deut. 11:27), so that his blessings can be our portion in abundance.

CHRISTIE KUPOLUYI


 

Prayer:

  1. Father by the power of Your Holy Spirit, teach me obedience, in Jesus’ name.

  2. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, instruct me in the full dimensions of holiness to the Trinity, in Jesus’ name.

  3. Father sanctify me with Your Holy Spirit, so that I may be separated unto You, and away from the world, in Jesus’ name.

  4. Father open the windows and gates of heaven and pour out Your blessings that accrue from obedience and holiness, upon me and my family, in Jesus’ name.

  5. Lord, please help the believers and the Church as a whole, to strive for holiness, which will impact the nations and world at large, in Jesus’ name.

  6. Father heal our land that we may enjoy Your peace and bountiful harvest, in Jesus’ name.

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