Today’s reading is Genesis 35-37, Psalm 12, and Mark 14.
In Genesis 35:1, God tells Jacob to go make an altar to him in Bethel. Jacob obeys and invites his family and others with them to come along, as well as instructs them to put away their foreign gods and purify themselves and their clothes. They did as he instructed going to Bethel, and Jacob built the altar. God then tells Jacob in Genesis 35:10 he has a new name, Israel.
Throughout Scripture we have seen God also give others a new name when they commit to following Him. Simon became Peter which in original language was Cephas meaning rock. Abram becomes Abraham in Genesis 17. Saul also become Paul when he committed to following Jesus after years of persecuting Christians.
I believe God did this and included these real stories in the Bible for us to read still today because it signifies when we commit to following Him the old us has gone away, and we are a new creation saved through His blood.
Does this mean we will not make mistakes and fall into sin again? No, we will mess up again. We know Peter denied knowing Jesus out of fear, even when he knew Jesus was the Messiah and after all he had seen Jesus do and all Jesus had done for him. Abraham lied out of fear for his life saying Sarah was his sister instead of trusting God’s protection. We can also infer Paul might have been misguided in his disagreement with Barnabas which led to them splitting ways in Acts and although we don’t know the specific sins, Paul himself says in Romans 7:14-15 and Roman 7:19 that he falls into sin and does the exact things he does not want to do.
However, he still says in 2 Corinthians 5:17…
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.”
Despite their mistakes even after becoming a new creation, God did big things with them. Jacob, now Israel, was the father of the 12 tribes of Israel. Abram, now Abraham, was the father of many nations. Simon, now Peter, became one of the founders of the church in spreading the Gospel. Saul, now Paul, spread the Gospel across and around the Mediterranean and wrote nearly half the New Testament.
Through the good and bad, God will do big things with and through you for His Kingdom when you become a new creation through committing to following Him.
Have you committed to letting Jesus be the Lord and leader of your life or do you need to recommit? If you want to, pray the following prayer…
Lord, thank for the unconditional love you showed by dying on the cross to forgive me from my sin. I believe that because you rose on Easter, I will also live with you in Heaven someday. I commit to living my life while still here on Earth for you. I ask that you watch over me, guiding and protecting me from Satan. Help me see myself the way you see me, as a new creation, righteous and holy where my sin is washed white as snow through your blood. I love you. Amen.