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Moving On

Words of Faith Final

Moving On
Words of Faith 6-23-2022
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2022
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Genesis 35
[16] Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. [17] And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, "Don't be afraid, for you have another son." [18] As she breathed her last--for she was dying--she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin.
[19] So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). [20] Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel's tomb.
[21] Israel moved on again and pitched his tent beyond Migdal Eder. [22] While Israel was living in that region, Reuben went in and slept with his father's concubine Bilhah, and Israel heard of it.
Jacob had twelve sons:
[23] The sons of Leah:
Reuben the firstborn of Jacob, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun.
[24] The sons of Rachel:
Joseph and Benjamin.
[25] The sons of Rachel's maidservant Bilhah:
Dan and Naphtali.
[26] The sons of Leah's maidservant Zilpah:
Gad and Asher.
These were the sons of Jacob, who were born to him in Paddan Aram.
[27] Jacob came home to his father Isaac in Mamre, near Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had stayed. [28] Isaac lived a hundred and eighty years. [29] Then he breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, old and full of years. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

Bethel held tremendous value as a center of spiritual life for Jacob (Israel). This is where he first met God in person. Before Bethel, God had been something his father and mother talked about. At Bethel, which means "house of God," God became real to Jacob.
God had directed Jacob to return to Bethel. "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." How long was Jacob supposed to stay there? The Hebrew word can mean to "dwell" or to "tarry."
This was a critical place of recommitment, but now it was time to "move on." "Moving on" entailed several things for Jacob. This was a birth, a death, a betrayal, and another death.
"Moving on" definitely meant an experience of joy. Jacob experienced the joy of birth as the final son of the Israel legacy arrived at a place midway between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. "Moving on" also meant the pain of grief. With the joy of birth came the terrible loss of Jacob's beloved wife, Rachel. Nothing could have been quite as painful to Jacob. Rachel gave the child the name, Ben-Oni, meaning "son of my sorrow" but this would not do for Jacob. He renamed the boy Benjamin which means "son of my right hand." Jacob was looking toward the future rather than dwelling in the sorrow of the past.
As if that were not enough, "moving on" also included the pain of sin and betrayal in the family. Ruben, the oldest son of Jacob by Leah, slept with his father's concubine Bilhah, and Israel/Jacob heard of it. This was surely a terribly painful betrayal that Jacob would not forget. It was also a betrayal that Dan and Naphtali, the sons of Bilhah, would have greatly resented. We have to remember that tribes have been murdered for less than this! It is significant that despite having a wonderful "retreat" at Bethel, the pain of grief and of sin were still a part of life's reality.
When Jacob/Israel finally got home, he joined Esau to bury his father, Isaac. Another grief.
The reality is that we have times of "moving on" in our lives. They are not easy. Life moves ahead to the next season. In families, we move from the season of babies to little kids, teens to college/career, weddings to grandbabies, and then caring for aging parents.
In churches, we move on from pioneering to growth, building to planting, and nurturing to mission. These are the transitions of life in God's plan. Even if we "dwell" spiritually at Bethel, the "house of God," there will still be a mixture of joy and sorrow that is part of life. There will be the joy of birth and the sorrow of death. There will be the joy of growth but also the pain of sin. This is because we are still a broken and sinful people even though we have visited the "dwelling of God."
Even if we dwell in the house of the Lord forever, there will be pain mixed with joy along the way. Yet God says, "I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11). But that does not mean there will be no pain or sorrow along the way. The Lord also declares, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9). He is sufficient for the transitions of life. He is sufficient as we move on.

Lord, I give thanks that You are with me for the journey. I rejoice to know that You have a plan for me. Your grace is sufficient for me, for Your power is made perfect in my weakness. Lead me as I move on. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2022
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2022 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.