Clearing The Top Shelf

This is where you will find blocks of chocolate, lollies and left overs from party bags.

Genesis 35:1-15

Reference: “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 ‭NIV‬‬

Explore: On the top shelf of my pantry is where I keep all our food treats. This is where you will find blocks of chocolate, lollies and left overs from party bags.

Our boys are pretty good at not asking for treats at home very often and as they are nice and high they often forget about them. But my husband and I can reach them just fine. When all the kids are in bed and it’s quiet in the house, this is the first place we’ll visit.

A couple of months ago my husband and I decided we had been hitting the treat shelf a little too hard and our bellies were expanding a little too far! So we both committed to being healthy.

Rule 1 to starting a healthy lifestyle was not to have tempting “sometimes food” around the house all the time. And so, I cleared out the top shelf of the pantry.

I replaced the Cadbury chocolate with corn thins and the lollies with popcorn. Not surprisingly we don’t tend to visit the top shelf so much any more!

I know it’s important to have everything in moderation but there was no point having something so incredibly tempting in our reach.

Application: In Genesis 35 we hear of Jacob “clearing the top shelf”.

He was moving his family, under God’s command, to build an altar in His honour. But before he did this he made sure everyone removed all the foreign gods from their company and they buried them.

Anything they were tempted to rely on, instead of relying on the one true God, was removed.

There is no doubt there would have been other ways to access these foreign gods, just like my husband and I can still access fatty foods after my top shelf has been cleared. But the act itself of removing things from being close to us is quite cleansing and symbolic in its own way.

Things that pull us down and separate us from God are all around us. And they tend to creep into our lives without us even noticing.

It’s good for us all to “clear the top shelf” every now and again so we refocus on what is healthy and important in our lives.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for being the ever-present element in our life that only builds us up and restores us. Amen.

In which areas of your life do you need to clear the top shelf?

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This article was written by Linda Bailey

Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.