Going Back

4 Apr

Have you heard people say “You can NEVER go back in your walk with the Lord, you must ALWAYS move forward”? There’s a lot of truth in that statement, however, if you dig deeply into the word of God, you see specific times when people went back. Important people. Faithful people. Remember the story of the withered fruit tree? Peter would have never recognized that tree Jesus cursed the day before UNLESS they had gone back by the way they came. Remember Moses and the children of Israel and their trek through the desert? They back tracked more than a few times if I recall. Even Paul and his mission teams went back to visit the churches they had planted on their early missionary journeys.
Another interesting Bible character who found himself going back and revisiting a place he had been before was Jacob. If you remember the story, years before Jacob had to run for his life because he had stolen his brother Esau’s birthright for a mere pot of red stew. The fact is– he really didn’t steal Esau’s birthright, he just happened to offer a hot meal to a famished brother, who was so hungry he would have given his birthright and everything else he owned for that matter –to fill his empty belly!

After fleeing his home and family and attempting to escape the death threats of his enraged brother Esau, Jacob finds himself spending the night in a place called Luz. But this is no ordinary town. And this is no ordinary night. As Jacob places a stone for a pillow under his head, he drifts off to sleep only to experience a dream so vivid and mind blowing. He calls the place Bethel, which means house of God. For Jacob said, “What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the gateway to heaven!” What’s more, Jacob makes a vow to the Lord and says “If God is indeed with me and his promises come true, I will give him a tenth of everything he gives me.” With that kind of declaration, you know the man was serious!

If you follow the rest of the story, Jacob ends up working for his Uncle Laban as a shepherd and endures seven long, arduous years, toiling in the hot sun and freezing cold. His pay? The right to marry Laban’s daughter Rachel – whom Jacob desperately loved. But not to be outwitted by his nephew Jacob ( a known deceiver ), Uncle Laban uses the “bait and switch” tactic and sneaks his first born daughter Leah in the honeymoon tent — right under Jacob’s nose. So when the two love birds woke up the next morning Jacob is… shall we say… ticked off?
After things calmed down and Jacob came to his senses, he agreed to marry both Rachel and Leah in exchange for another seven years working for Uncle Laban. Not the best deal in the world, but at least he got what he wanted, even if he was tricked into it!

Over the course of the next seven years, Jacob’s family was as fruitful as the Lord had promised him it would be — thirteen children, along with camels, donkeys, and more sheep than you could shake a shepherd’s stick at. He was blessed beyond measure. So much so, that his Uncle Laban and family had had enough of Jacob. Even Rachel and Leah were ready to move out.

Hearing the voice of the Lord to return to his homeland, Jacob packs up the family, and all their belongings without hesitation, and sets his sights for home, hoping to see his father Isaac and praying he won’t run into his brother Esau along the way.
As Jacob was making his way back home to reconnect with his father and family, he comes to Bethel, the very place God had spoken to him in a dream nearly twenty years before as he was fleeing from his brother Esau. The Bible says “God appeared again to him at Bethel. God blessed him, saying, your name is Jacob, but you will not be called Jacob any longer. From now on, your name will be called Israel.
Following that God encounter, Jacob set up a stone pillar to mark the place God had spoken to him a second time.

Followers of Christ don’t normally make a habit of going back. However, there are times when it is good to go back. It may be helpful to go back and remember the times and places where God spoke to you personally. In Jacob’s case, the first time at Bethel, the Lord spoke and introduced himself to Jacob as the God of his father Isaac and grandfather Abraham. The second time God met Jacob in Bethel, he changed his name! He gave him a new identity. Going back is not always counterproductive; sometimes it’s just the perspective we need. For Jacob, old things had passed away and everything became new.


3 Responses to “Going Back”

  1. MINISTRY AMONG TRIBALS April 5, 2014 at 7:43 am #

    Yes, what you said is right. Our GOD is a LOVING GOD and always wants HIS people COME BACK to HIM.He LOVES us and FORGIVES OUR SINS.
    I agree with your COMMENT.
    With prayer,
    PERSONAL EMAIL: stevenson_koya@yahoo.com

    • Ferd April 6, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

      This was a word in due season for me. Returning to PA after Bible college was not in the plan, but became part of the path. The Lord has shown me it was to bring closure; and part of the preparation. Thanks for being used to encourage!!

  2. Tom Hongo July 26, 2014 at 9:21 am #

    thanks pastor,am so greatful with your script and am inviting you to Tanzania.AM pastor TOM  operating  a prayer house in Dar es salaam. feel free to communicate with me through email  or call +255716775945. I disire to be your co worker

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