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.
2 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:
3 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.
4 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.
5 And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.
And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.
11 And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
13 And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;
14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.
16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.
17 And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
18 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.
19 And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.
20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,
21 So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall theLord be my God:
22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
BETHEL. Bethel signifies
1. House of God;
2. The place of meeting with God.
AUGUST – the month of August symbolises a new beginning.
You can begin again!
Jacob’s relationship with God was renewed at Bethel. It is also in this particular place where his name was changed and God declared blessings upon him. In that day of meeting with God, Jacob promised that, of all that God gives him, he would give a tenth of it. This was a manifestation of his uncompromising love to God. In the present day, this day is similar to the day when a person met with Jesus Christ or the day when he got born again - this is how we can describe Bethel.
Biblical scholars say that the period between Genesis 28 and Genesis 35 is a total of 22 years. This means that for 22 years, Jacob’s life was dry, his love to God had grown cold and there were even idols in his family.
What has happened to us?
We lost the first love, the uncompromising way of life and our dedication to God and to the gospel. Before, people knew that we are God’s children, they heard our testimonies, the presence of God was present in our lives and people saw his radiance in us. Now our love to God has grown cold, besetting sins are now present in our lives, we live, think and act like unbelievers or just as we lived before knowing Jesus Christ.
Glory to God for His mercy and for His longsuffering!
Before, we studied the word of God, we wept and repented when we sinned, we loved each other and the church, we gave offerings to God and had great fear of God. But gradually, all these began to disappear. Now, we go to church but our perspective on life and our thinking too cannot be differentiated from that of the unbelievers and just like Jacob we have forgotten the promise we gave at the place of meeting with God.
We lost everything in the process of seeking after life’s vanities and these very things began to occupy the first place in our lives and God’s word lost its influence in our lives.
Jacob had idols in his house but he did not pay attention to them. Is there anybody or anything that has taken the place of God in your heart, is there anything you prefer more than God?
God is saying, “Arise and go back to Bethel. To the place of meeting with Him. Go back there.”
The essence of the word ‘arise’ is –is that God is saying my dear daughter, dear son, My people, arise and go come back to me, to the place of meeting with me, to the place of uncompromising life, come back to your first love.
The № 6 signifies labor
The № 7 signifies rest
The № 8 signifies new beginnings.
August signifies the month of a new beginning.
God’s mercy and grace is renewed every morning. The Lord is seeing our apathy that was not present in our lives before. The Christian life has become a burden unto us. However, God s saying, “Arise and begin again, renew your first love.”
God will visit those who will sincerely acknowledge their need to go back to Bethel. Before, we wouldn’t be offended, we forgave and forgot but right now, we have anger, offence even to those who have done no wrong to us. God wants to remove all these things from us.
I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee.
I have decided to go back to the source of life and to begin anew.
The prodigal son got to a very low spiritual level that he began to ask for that which belonged to the pigs. We are in a place similar to this: we began being with the people who we were never with before, we live in a way we didn’t live before and eat what we did not eat before. But one day he came to himself and said - will arise and go to my Father, I will start all over again.
4. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
5.Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
In Genesis, God told Jacob to arise and begin again. Jacob heard this and understood that it was important. He also understood that something had been lost and that he had to begin again. He received the word of God and he gave too to his household.
Enough with the dirty compromise!
Enough of the outer kindness without passion to God!
Enough of the compelled Christianity!
Christianity is the life of God being manifested in a human.
Check your life.
God is giving us an opportunity to start all over again.