Finding Your Way Home Pt 1
The seven most read Gleaner online news stories for 2017 had sex scandals at its top and tail. Why are Jamaicans so interested in these types of stories? How do our own lives relate to them? What are we searching for?
The truth is, we are all searching for a place to call home, where we will feel loved, accepted, and whole. This longing is only fulfilled in a life lived for Jesus Christ.
But many of us have long been battling this deep pull toward God. He speaks to you through His Word and in your inner being. You are in pain and would like God to help you with some of your problems, but you have no intention of surrendering your entire life to Him. So the problems may be solved, but God's call remains unanswered.
In the Bible, Jacob was in a similar situation. Jacob's daughter, Dinah, has been raped and then his sons in their anger murdered the clan of her rapist (Genesis 34:13-16). To make matters worse, "They looted all their wealth and plundered their houses." Genesis 34:29a (NLT).
Jacob rebuked his two sons: "'You have brought trouble on me by making me obnoxious to the Canaanites and Perizzites ... if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed." Genesis 34:30 (NIV). With the threat of annihilation looming, God gets Jacob's attention.
From this account, we can learn how God uses crisis to get our attention, how we should respond and how God responds.
THE CALL OF GOD
Then God said to Jacob, "Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau." Genesis 35:1 (NIV). Although human actions caused it, God used the situation to call Jacob back to the only place that he had previously found peace, safety, and worship during a crisis, Bethel - the House of God, Genesis 28:10-19.
I have prayed for some persons for whom peace seem so far away, but hear God saying 'No more temporary solutions. Come home to me.' He calls us to a place of peace, where our guilt is resolved and where we can be in communion with God.
The Call comes from
God Himself told Jacob to go to Bethel and make an altar. Altars were built to show reverence and gratitude for God's presence and blessings.
When God sees our need and calls us, Romans 12:1 (NIV) reminds us, "In view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God - this is your true and proper worship."
A Call to Holiness
"So, Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, 'Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes.'" Genesis 35:2 (NIV).
An idol is something or someone that holds the most important place in your heart. Idols today look like boyfriends, jobs, recreation, even thoughts or desires. But God calls us to holiness, which places Him above everything else we desire in life.
God urges us to purify ourselves and put off the old garments of the flesh and put on the new garments of life in Christ. We do this by establishing Jesus as the Lord and Saviour of our lives.
Our being 'a good person' is insufficient to get us to God. "There is no one righteous, not even one" Romans 3:10 (NIV), but "... Christ willingly gave himself to God to die for our sins - he being perfect, without a single sin or fault." Hebrews 9:14 (NIV).
The other thing is that when we surrender to Jesus Christ, He gives us the ability to walk like He did. "Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did." 1 John 2:6 (NLT)
When we make the Lord number one in our lives, things start to turn around. Next week, we will conclude by looking at how God responds when we answer His call to come home.