God Almighty – The Faithful God

July 26th, 2022 – Tuesday Late Afternoon

“Then God appeared to Jacob again when he came from Paddan-aram, and He blessed him. God said to him,

‘Your name is Jacob;
You shall no longer be called Jacob,
But Israel shall be your name.’

Thus He called him Israel. God also said to him,

‘I am God Almighty;
Be fruitful and multiply;
A nation and a company of nations shall come from you,
And kings shall come forth from you.
The land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac,
I will give it to you,
And I will give the land to your descendants after you.’

Then God went up from him in the place where He had spoken with him. Jacob set up a pillar in the place where He had spoken with him, a pillar of stone, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. So Jacob named the place where God had spoken with him, Bethel.” ~Genesis 35:9-15

We often forget who God really is… Rather, we usually forget who God really is.

Why do you say this, you ask? Well, the reason for my statement has more to do with the unfailing character of God than anything else. See, in our passage above, we are reminded again and again of the faithful and gracious nature of the LORD; we see how He is the God who [makes and] keeps promises and who fulfills His word according to His will. He is the God who draws near to people and bestows abundant blessings in and through them, while showing His infinite power, authority, and sovereignty.

Remember how this chapter started (see the last devotional): God spoke to Jacob and called him to Bethel in order to make an altar; Jacob responded to the LORD by calling on his people to forsake their foreign gods (which are no gods), to purify themselves, and to go with him to Bethel to make an altar there to God. Now, Jacob has arrived and the LORD is appearing to him again; God blesses Jacob, reminds him of his changed identity (Israel, not Jacob), and then proceeds to tell Jacob who He is, what Jacob is to do, and what God is going to do to and through Jacob. Jacob may have thought he was coming to Bethel just to make an altar to the LORD, but the LORD – in His faithfulness and abundantly gracious character – had bigger plans.

Once the LORD has finished speaking to Jacob and has left, Jacob responds by setting up another monument (presumably in the same place as in Genesis 28) and giving an offering to the LORD. Jacob renames the location by the same name that he gave it decades earlier: Bethel – House of God. Shortly thereafter in Scripture, Jacob is Jacob no longer; instead, his new identity – Israel = God prevails – becomes his primary name. His life, his name, his descendants, and his actions in this passage reflect the reality that the LORD is indeed God Almighty, the faithful God.

My friends, we must not allow the world, the flesh, and the devil to distract us from the reality of who God really is. He is still the faithful God who is gracious and merciful; He is still the LORD who keeps His promises and fulfills His Word. Since this is true, we can live under His authority lives that are filled with His Spirit and overflowing with His grace; we can resist the temptations that lure us to sin and defeat the fears and hurts that trap us in anxiety, anger, and shame; finally, we can rejoice and give thanks because we have been adopted in Christ by the same God who so faithfully cared for Jacob and who does care for us. To Him be the glory alone!