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  • Writer's pictureAlan Fong

Back to Bethel

Today’s Verse:

And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. ~Genesis 35:3


Jacob made a costly mistake in moving down to Shechem. From the moment he pitched his tent there, one mishap after another happened. The final blow was when Simeon and Levi took swords and killed all the incapacitated men of Shechem. Jacob told his sons, “Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land.” However, it was at the moment when Jacob was anxious, scared, and feeling very vulnerable that God knew he was ready to listen to advice that he needed to hear.

We see Jacob’s Redeemer.

“And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.” God appeared to Jacob once again. The Lord allowed Jacob to experience setback and failure so that he would be ready to hear from Him. God had told him in Padanaram to go back to Bethel, but Jacob decided to go elsewhere. God is always there for us, but when we try to change things, He allows us to mess up so that we will listen to and obey Him. Have you been living your life outside of God’s will and experiencing heartache because of your unwise decisions?

We see Jacob’s requirement.

“Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments.” Jacob had been very lenient and turned his head the other way when it came to his family and their spiritual lives. He took back his leadership role to “clean house” with his family. First, he told them to put away the strange idol gods that they had been worshipping. Are there idols in your life that you need to forsake and permanently put away? Second, he told them to be clean. They needed to confess and forsake all known sin. Third, they needed to change their garments. On one extreme, they adopted the clothing of the nations that they were rubbing shoulders with, and on the other, they were becoming immodest in how they dressed. Jacob called on his family to get right.

We see Jacob’s revival.

“And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went…. So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him.” Jacob told his family that they needed a revival of Bethel. This was the place where God met with him, saved him, and gave him purpose for his life. Jacob led his family back to Bethel where all of them would have a revival of God’s comfort, presence, and purpose for their lives. Bethel means “the house of God.” When we are away from the house of God, we are prone to misguidance and unwise decisions. We need a revival of the house of God so that our purposes are in their right place.

We see Jacob’s removal.

“And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.” Before they left for Bethel, Jacob’s family willingly turned over their strange idol gods and earrings so that he could bury these sins in Shechem. Revival begins when we confess and forsake our sins. The forsaking of our sins is burying them and moving far away from them. It’s time to go back to Bethel. Let us arise and go!

Have a revived God Morning!

Bible Reading Schedule: Isaiah 9-12

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