Let Us Go Up - Father's Day

Bible Book: Genesis  35 : 1-7
Subject: Father's Day; Dad; Father; Family

Let Us Go Up - Father's Day

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor www.pastorlife.com

Genesis 35:1-7:

“Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.” 2 And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments. 3 Then let us arise and go up to Bethel; and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me in the way which I have gone.” 4 So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods which were in their hands, and the earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree which was by Shechem. 5 And they journeyed, and the terror of God was upon the cities that were all around them, and they did not pursue the sons of Jacob. 6 So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him. 7 And he built an altar there and called the place El Bethel, because there God appeared to him when he fled from the face of his brother.” (NKJV)

Is there any hope for the home? Some say there is none, and to be honest things do look bleak. Ominous clouds hang over the family, visible in the divorce rate, the fatherless households, the increase in venereal disease, drug abuse, and suicides among teenagers. Certainly a look at the family today, even families in our churches, sends a message that something is clearly wrong - dreadfully wrong in the home.

In the play, "Green Pastures" an angel looks down on the earth just before the flood, sees the wickedness of men, and says, "Look, Lawd, everything nailed down is coming loose!" That is the way it looks for the home today, and it leads us to ask what has cause this situation.

There are many reasons why our families are in trouble today.

(1) Entertainment

For four or five decades there seems to have been an intentional effort on the part of those who provide us with movies, television, music and other art forms to make what has always been viewed as immoral to be accepted and to view what best among us to be viewed as outdated, square, dorky and uncool. These attempts have, in many cases, been successful.

One of the people most often pictured as lame, ignorant, and out of touch will be a man, especially a father. The way some dads act today, some of that may be true, but when you present an image of someone that carries a negative reflection, respect for that person or position will be eroded. That has clearly happened to men and fathers in this generation.

(2) Social Interaction

With the advent of computers, and specifically the use of Twitter, Facebook, email and other forms of social communication, our society has become coarse, cruel and contemptible. Just a few years ago a study done of divorce lawyers found that more than 30% of all divorce filings had the word Facebook as part of the divorce filing.i

Then truth is, the use of social media contacts through the internet has not increased our closeness with people, but actually distanced us from each other. Look around in a restaurant and you will see a dad, mom and two children all looking down at a device. They are communicating but not with each other.

(3) Materialism

The promise that things can make you happy has failed miserably, but the beat goes on. People still believe that happiness can be bought. If that were true, you would not see so many rich, famous people dying through an overdose of drugs or through outright suicide. Money doesn’t make you miserable, but it certainly doesn’t make one happy.

At the root of these issues is the problem of integrity. Who can you trust? From the priest to the preacher, to the politician to the teacher, from the financial institution to the financial adviser, trust has been broken.

In the midst of the complex and deadly age, is there any hope for the home? Where can we turn for directions to saving our families and our futures?

Hope for the Home lies in finding God's will and way. Abraham and Sarah had what seemed to be an impossible situation in their home. How could they become parents in their old age? Yet when they laughed at the prospect, the angel of the Lord said, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" Indeed, is anything too hard for the Lord? Certainly not! We must simply lay hold of His will and way, and follow it. I want to especially apply this to the men in our church this morning.

Fathers, husbands and men in general need to learn the lessons from our scripture passage for today. Of course, the principles found here are useful and effective for all, so ladies and children can learn much from this Old Testament lesson as well

Today we are looking at Jacob. He had a large family and a large problem. He had basically connived his way through life. He was a believer but he was also a deceiver. He met the Lord at Bethel 30 years before we come to our passage today, but we find his family in a predicament that he must end or mend. Note five steps that led to victory for his family.

I. Looking Up - New Perspective

"Go up"...

A new upward look was required in Jacob’s life. He needed to get his eyes on God! This was especially true for him as a father.

At the recent Southern Baptist Convention I overheard a mother saying to her children, "Now you will get lost unless you keep your eyes on your father." Many children are following daddy, and daddy needs to be following the Heavenly Father. It is a sad thing when a child gets lost BECAUSE he follows his father!

We all remember, I am sure, the flight of the Spirit of Saint Louis, flown by Lindbergh. It was the first solo flight of an airplane across the Atlantic Ocean. While flying alone over the fast expanse of the sea, one storm threatened the entire journey. Lindbergh had only one way to keep from being lost, so he rose higher and flew above it, and thus followed the stars to keep himself on course. We must rise above this world and its storms and keep our eyes on the Bright and Morning Star if we expect to journey correctly

Jacob had needed a new perspective in his life and for his family. He needed to look up and see the Lord again.

C.S. Lewis, writing in the Screwtape Letters, tells of a nephew to the demon. Screwtape tells the nephew how to keep Christians from serving God. In one letter Screwtape wrote to his nephew, he tells him that he must never allow the Christian to see the banners flying high. In other words, the demon was to defeat Christians by keeping their eyes on the earth, on the ground on the things of this world. He warned his demon nephew that once Christians look up and see the banner of the Lord, hey cannot be defeated. I tell you here and now, if ever we needed to look up at the blood-stained banner of our Lord, it is now! This is especially true for our fathers – for our men. We must remember the great hymn, “Rise up on men of God.”

II. Perk Up - New Praise

Not only must we look up, we must perk up! You will note in our passage today that God reminds Jacob of his former blessings. Jacob, in turn, tells his family that God has led him all the way. You can see in Jacob a new appreciation for all that God has done and is doing in his life and family.

If we forget the language of gratitude, we can be sure that we are not on speaking terms with God. The Christian's first attitude ought to be gratitude. Does note the scripture inspire us to "Enter into his courts with thanksgiving!"

Let me remind you of something that it is easy to forget. Many sorrows may have come your way in life, but many more might have been yours to bear had God not guarded you from them. If you cannot be thankful for what you have been given, be thankful for what you have been spared. Only God knows the many things He has brought us through. Our homes should be places of praise, not of disgust and depression.

III. Point Up - New Persuasion

“Let us..."

Note that Jacob did not merely send his family to do good, he led them to do so. “Let us,” are the words of one who is willing to go the way he is teaching. Listen, dad, you must lead by example. You can’t tell you children what to do and then not do so yourself. Influence is one of the greatest tools available to a father.

A father sat at the table eating with his family and he noticed that his had no table manners at all. "Son, you eat like a pig," the father said. “You do know what a pig is, don’t you, son?” The little boy said, “Sure, dad, a pig is a hog’s little boy.” We must be aware of our influence.

You can be sure of this, there is a lot of pressure out there in this world to lead your family away from God. Peer pressure is a powerful tool in the hands of Satan, but a positive influence is powerful as well. A father must point his children in the way of the Lord by being a constant example of what he preaches. Jacob pointed his family to Bethel - to God – by leading them there!

Jesus said it would be better to have a millstone tied around your neck and to be thrown into the sea than to offend one of the little ones. There is going to be a terrible judgment someday for those who have offended the little children of this world - and that may well be for fathers and mothers.

IV. Speak Up - New Prayer

"Build an altar..."

If there was ever a day when God’s people needed a family altar, it is today! Jacob remembered that God had answered him at Bethel. Regarding the place of Bethel, Jacob said, "Where He (God) answered me." Jacob was learning an age old lesson - you must get a believer on his knees before you can get him on his feet. We don't need to be better, we need to get closer to the Lord,, for that is the only way to be what He calls for us to be.

It isn’t easy to maintain an altar with God. Satan hinders prayer because prayer hinders Satan. Satan would rather us do anything than pray.

There is an old joke about an airplane that was in danger. The people on the plane were just before going berserk with fear. They realized there was a pastor on board. “Do something,” they yelled to him. So, he stood and took up an offering!

Listen, we don’t need more religious activity, we need God. We need the Lord in our homes as never before. Going through the motions of religion will not suffice when the plane is about to crash.

Someone once said, “We can’t expect a $1,000 dollar answer to a 10 cent prayer. We must mean business with God - Jacob did and it made all the difference in the world.

V. Clean Up - A New Purity

"...all the foreign gods which were in their hands..."

Idolatry must be destroyed and removed from our lives. What is idolatry? It is three things, basically.

1. It is human strength.
2. It is religious tradition (family gods).
3. It is that which is visible and material rather than that which is spiritual and eternal (it is human rather than divine)

We need to let go of the world and take hold of the nail-scarred hand anew. We need a new cleansing. Fathers, we must be first to make such a decision. You must let go of self and turn in a fresh way to the Savior.

I read somewhere about two drunks who staggered into a boat one night. They needed to get to the other side, so they simply decided to steal the boat. They rowed for three hours, till the sun came up, but never got the other side. Why? They never untied the boat from the dock!

The way to untie ourselves from the dock, is to get rid of all the things we depend on in the place of God. Let us this very day renew our relationship with our Lord.


We need to bring our hearts and homes to the Lord today. Notice that Jacob said to his family, “Let us go up to Bethel.” Many times when a preacher gives an invitation for people to respond, he says, “Come forward,” or “come down to the front.” My friend, when we come to the Lord, we are never coming down; no, we are going up!

Let us "go up" today! Look up, perk up, speak up, point up and clean up! Jacob’s home changed the whole world. His sons became the heads of the tribes of Israel. His son Joseph saved the whole world. Our hope for the home lies in the five steps that Jacob followed in the blessing of his home and family. Note that once Jacob arrived at the site to which God had pointed him, he made an altar there and called the place, "El Bethel." Now what does that mean? Bethel, in Hebrew, means "Beth" - house, and "El" - God. But, God is mentioned twice. Why? It is stated this way because it means "God of the House of God." Wow! That is rich. You can have a place called "The House of God," but God may not be in the house. Jacob called this place, "God of the House of God." The Lord was there and that is exactly what his family needed. That is what our familes need today.

Now, let us go up! Let us go up to God. Let us go up the God of the House of God today in this invitation. Let this step begin with our men and fathers today.


i Accessed at https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/facebook-relationship-status/story?id=16406245