GOD DIRECTED JACOB BACK TO BETHEL
Many times we tend to forget some of the promises we made either to God or to ourselves, but thank God for putting it into our remembrance so as to fulfill the plan of God concerning our lives. On the way to Haran, the LORD appeared to Jacob and revealed Himself to him in his dream and when he woke up, he poured oil on the stone that he rested on and promised that the place will become the pillar of God’s house if God would be with him on that journey. It was God that told him to arise and leave Haran to go back to the land of promise. Though Jacob did accordingly, but settling in Shechem was not God’s plan. Though Shechem was also in the land of Canaan, it was not the place where God appeared to him in a dream, where he promised to make as a house for God. Let us recollect from Genesis 28:18-22 that reads “And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows and set it up for a pillar; and poured oil upon the top of it, And he called the name of that place BETHEL but the name of that place was called Luz…..And he vowed…And this stone which I have set for a pillar shall be God’s house …”
After the departure of Esau, the next focus should have been to locate Bethel where God appeared to him and he made a vow to make the stone a pillar for God’s house. Therefore God had to visit him again at Shechem to arise and go to Bethel. Genesis 35:1 reads “And God said unto 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..” We thank God for not giving up on us, and this visitation kindled a fresh fire in him because the children had already settled with strange gods that they were worshiping. Jacob had to announce to every one with him “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments. 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.” I believe that the household of Jacob had not totally put their trust on God of their father, they were still indulged in foreign gods (idols) apparently through their mothers that were from Haran where the idols were still being worshiped. Even Rachel held on to her father’s image when they departed from Haran. This now explained why they were so callous as to destroy all the males of the city of Shechem because of their sister ‘s defilement. They had no business dwelling there in the first place. Thank God for His mercy over Jacob because He overlooked their waywardness and their non-commitment to Him yet despite the fact that He was constantly appearing to him and assuring him that He was with him.
This time around, Jacob was able to understand that he cannot serve God of his fathers with other strange gods therefore he requested each one to give him all the strange gods which they did and asked them to wash themselves and put on a new garment. All their strange gods and earrings Jacob buried under the oak tree which was by Shechem. So 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. On getting there, 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. It was reported here that Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse died and was buried there. Another account of God’s visitation was recorded and it reads ” And God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from Padan Aram, and blessed him. And God said to him, Your name is Jacob, your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name.” So He called his name Israel. Also God said to him, “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply, a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body. The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac I give to you , and to your descendants after you I give this land,”
Going through Genesis, I was able to recognize a pattern of repetition of God’s promise over Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I believe that God knows our composition and all the cares of this world that makes us to easily forget what God had told us. Also saying it over and over again might also serve as assurance that what I have spoken will surely come to pass. This was what He meant when He told Joshua to meditate on the Word of God day and night., that is, say it to yourself many times until it sinks to your inner man, and you will not forget. Our Lord Jesus when he was celebrating the pass-over with his apostles (known as Last Supper) commanded them to continue to do this in remembrance of Him. The book of the Law which is the Bible, is also supposed to be read constantly, until we have understanding of what His Words are conveying to us. I have also learnt the secret of repetition, when you read a paragraph once, and you go back and read again, the words become clearer, and you see more words that escaped you the first time. So let us read the Word of God as if we are going to be tested on them, and let us pay attention to all the words we read and read as many times as possible until the Holy Spirit gives us understanding of the Word.
The LORD will give us the grace to read the Word of God as many times as possible and make us the doer of the Word in Jesus name, Amen. Remain blessed.