So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him. “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes.” Genesis 35:2
Growing up on a family farm meant that after chores, it was time for Saturday night baths and for getting ready for Sunday. Peeling potatoes on Saturday night so that this work wouldn’t have to take place on Sunday was one of the ways my father helped with housework. You might have other remembrances of what it meant or means to get ready for church on Sunday.
In our verse for today, we read about Jacob wanting everyone he is traveling with to get ready. God had promised to be with Jacob at Bethel when he left his family home and now it is time for Jacob to return to that place. As Jacob nears the place of God’s promise, his vision is more acute. The issue wasn’t about outward appearance, but of allegiance to God. Jacob sees more clearly that his household is not clean. The presence of foreign gods is offensive to Jacob as he gets closer to where he met the real God.
What does it mean for you and me to get ready to meet God? Every day, every moment, we can meet God, but we also have the special opportunity to meet God with others at a worship service. Are you planning to attend or waiting to see how your Saturday night goes? Are you preparing your heart and reviewing the need to get rid of foreign gods that we accumulate? We do accumulate gods like the gods of materialism or self-centeredness or anything else that can get in the way of our total allegiance to God.
Preparing to meet God and what He has prepared for us to hear from His Word and with His people is a matter of the heart. It is also a matter of priorities. Do we make purification a priority? It will, when we see that we meet with a Holy God.
Holy God: Examine our hearts and create a clean heart within us by the work of you Holy Spirit. Help us to be prepared to meet you – now, tomorrow and for eternity. Amen.