“Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments” (Genesis 35:2)
Jacob had been commanded of God to “Arise, go up to Bethel.”
Return, Jacob, to the starting place and revive the beginning of My Revelation to you of My Everlasting Covenant, and of your confession that this is the House of God and the Gate of Heaven, and of your vows to Me.
Now Jacob, you command your family not only to Return and to Revive; but now, to Respond to Me as My Children, who are to be Holy, as I am Holy; not only in Position, which you are in Christ, but also in Practice. (See 1 Peter 1:14-15; Hebrews 12:14.)
You must be clean. Therefore, you need to change. To change, you must respond to My Command.
First: the Plea
“…Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments …” (Genesis 35:2)
To “put away” means to get rid of; to turn from; to leave; never to return. This is the act of Repentance. Repentance means to turn 180 degrees in the opposite direction.
The Results will be “and be clean.” To be clean, you must confess your sins (1 John 1:9). This means your mind is clean before God; you are spiritually clean before God, which can only come experientially by confession of your sins:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
To “be clean” means you have actually turned from your sins:
“Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;” (Isaiah 1:16)
“Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17)
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)
Then, “change your garments.” When you make true confession before God (your Father) of your sin – there will be a change of your garments (of your attitude, your actions, and your attire). This change will be both inward and outward. It means your deeds, your words, and your testimony will show your change.
Second: the Perception
“…Put away the strange gods that are among you…” (Genesis 35:2)
That is, identify the strange gods that are (not if or maybe, but are) at the present time, among you.
The “strange gods” are anything that come between God and you; anything that steals your love for God; anything that causes you to rely upon it to provide, protect, and preserve you.
The “strange gods” can be your family; your fortune; your fame; your church (if it is a false church); or even yourself.
Many times a saint gets sidetracked by depending upon himself – his own:
a) Strength – he says, “I can do it.” This is what Samson thought when he was being beguiled by Delilah (Judges 16:4-31). But the end result was just the opposite – his strength was in his hair not being cut. He allowed Delilah to deceive him; and he lost it all in the end.
b) Beauty – he says, “I have it.” This was the case with Absalom, one of King David’s sons (2 Samuel 18:9-33). Absalom was vain and prideful, as was evidenced by his long hair. But in the end, it was his long hair that brought about his physical death by Joab, the Commander of the Armies of King David. (Also see Ezekiel 16:15a.)
c) Intellect – he says, “I know it”; as was with Job (Job 29:1-25). In this chapter, Job used the first person pronoun “I” twenty times. This is the problem of the “old man” – the “I” syndrome.
Therefore, the “I” has to be daily crucified and brought into subjection to God.
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;” (2 Corinthians 3:5)
God uses the “limp” or the “thorn” to cause the saint to identify the strange god, self – and deal with self, through confession and dependence on God’s sufficiency and not on his own sufficiency; to come to glory in his infirmities, that the Power of Christ may rest on him (2 Corinthians 12:7-10); and to come to say, God’s Grace is sufficient.
This Perception is a must for revival. It is not our strength, our beauty, or our intellect – but in Christ and Him alone.
Third: the Process
After confession, there must be a doing of God’s Word:
“And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears…” (Genesis 35:4)
In this action, we are revealed the inward change and the outward change in true confession, which is evidenced by the actions of change:
a) First comes Concession: a surrender to God as Master and Lord. Then submission to God’s Word as Truth, and to His Will. Concession is in the mind.
b) Second comes Confession: a Godly sorrow for sin; a mind of repentance; evidenced by a literal confession to God of sin.
c) Third comes Commitment: “And they gave unto Jacob.” This is a literal putting away of the strange gods; a literal forsaking; a literal turning away from their sin.
These are the Steps of Revival:
- A Concession;
- A Confession; and
- A Commitment.
Then to seal Revival in the mind, comes Concealment: “and Jacob hid them under the oak” (Genesis 35:4b).
Jacob represents God forever hiding the sin of His Child in Christ’s Atonement. Jacob hid them and buried them; he covered them out of his sight and their sight. So God has forever cast our sins in the depth of the sea, never to appear again. He cast them behind His back in the Atonement of Christ.
On this basis, “…he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
This seals Revival in a saint’s heart, to know that his sin is forgiven forever in Christ. Hallelujah! This brings on a sense of forgiveness; a relief of the burden; a joy; a praise; and yes, a Change – inwardly and outwardly.