Coming Back to the House of God


Back to Bethel

Book of Genesis Chapters 34 and 35

As we study the Old Testament, we see that these people who preserved the Word of God were just historical people as we are.

These are real people with real problems who found out that it is Yahweh who has all the answers.

These stories of life in the Old Testament are real and they are true.

We see that it is not always easy to be a believer.

We will face many challenges as we try to serve the Lord.

The best solution is the solution the Lord gives us, which is to keep the commandments to God, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jacob had to live with the decisions he had made, and he had to find God’s “Grace”.

The best place to begin in search of God’s “Grace” is at the House of God!

We must always understand God does not need our sacrifices God needs our obedience!

*Gen 35:1 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.

Jacob had made a vow at Bethel. God had kept His side of the vow, but Jacob had wavered in his vow.

Gen 28:20 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,
Gen 28:21 So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:
Gen 28:22 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.

Many a Christian today, who were on fire for God, when they first asked Jesus to come into their heart, have now cooled off and they need to go back to Bethel, the House of God, and renew their vow as did Jacob.

Jacob had been blessed many times over. Jacob had not given his tenth and Jacob had not given his heart to God which is far more important.

During this “Covid” Plague, many of God’s children have grown cold and afraid and they no longer give their heart to God.

In fact many have even forgotten to support the House of God!

They have just quit on the Lord no matter their excuse!

Ecc 5:4 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.
Ecc 5:5 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.

We make a vow to the Lord the day of our salvation, the very moment of our salvation, or we are not saved!

God wanted the heart of Jacob just as he had the heart of Abraham!

Jacob did not need to go alone, he needed to take all his family so they too could join him at the altar of God.

But there are always some things that need to be left behind!

*Gen 35:2 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:

No matter who we are or where we come from, as Christians we need to renew our commitments to the Lord first and then to each other.

The second will not work without the first!

The family is the first government that our Creator endorsed.

We might say “I have never had strange gods in my life”, but we are fools to think so!

Gal 4:8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.
Gal 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
Gal 4:10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
Gal 4:11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

All these things are false gods that we have allowed into our lives without thinking that they are false.

Gal 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:

We must keep the Lord “first” at all times and those weak and beggarly elements, which are worldly things, need to be replaced with the Word of God, that is the Word of Truth!

We need to be clean!

The Bible does say come as you are, but in this instance, we are talking about the children who are already in the family of God.

We must cleanse ourselves because we spend every day in a wicked and sinful and corrupt world.

Jesus said to Peter:

Joh_13:10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.

To wash our feet as Christians is to walk holy and undefiled.

We must wash the filth of this world off before we make request of the Lord.

It is called recognizing we are sinners, asking for forgiveness every day and asking for a refilling of the Holy Spirit every day or more often as the need arises.

We still live in this filthy flesh!
We are still dirty rotten sinners saved only by God’s Grace!

That “Grace” comes only by Jesus Christ!

In our Spiritual life, that has been “justified” by the Lord and purified by the Lord, need not think that we are undone if in our walk in this life we will contract some stains.

We need to wash away those stains!

We get this same meaning where it says a change our garments.

We need to wash away the filth of this world and the Word of God is that cleansing agent.

Eph 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
Eph 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

This washing occurs as we are doers of the Word, we are obedient to the Word of God!

1Co 6:11 And such were some of you: “but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God”.
1Co 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

We cannot allow ourselves to be brought under the power of this world when our power is of the Lord.

We just need to go to the “House of God”.

*Gen 35:3 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.

We are foolish if we do not remember from where God has brought us from.

Where were we?

1Co 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
1Co 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
1Co 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

We must never forget the power of our “faith” in the Lord Jesus Christ!

We must remember our deliverance!

The Lord will always, “Always”, deliver those who come to Him in faith and repentance!

2Sa 22:2 And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
2Sa 22:3 The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.
2Sa 22:4 I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: “so shall I be saved from mine enemies”.

If we love the Lord, truly love the Lord, He will always deliver us from our day of distress!

As far as Jacob was concerned Laban was in the past and it was Esau, his own brother who brought these fears to him.

Jacob may not have known just how to approach Esau but as God does, God said to “let his journey begin at Bethel, the House of God”.

This is a great lesson for us all.

No matter what we are going through, we need to go to the Lord in prayer and there is no better place to pray than the altar at the house of God.

Yes, we are to go to our closet and get alone with God.

But a Spirit filled House of God, where others who love the Lord can bring great peace of mind.

God is our deliverer!

Psa 18:17 He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.
Psa 18:18 They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.

Jacob had asked his family to give up all false gods and to go with him to the House of God.

Anything people worship is to them a god!

Anything we put before the Lord has become our god!

But there is only one true God!

*Gen 35:4 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.
Gen 35:5 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.

If we go back to where Jacob had begun his journey to escape from Esau, we will understand this better.

Gen 28:20 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,
Gen 28:21 So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:
Gen 28:22 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.

Jacob had vowed a vow to Yahweh and God was doing His part and had done His part.

God always does what He says He will do!

We must repent of our old life and walk in the Word of God!

We must bury our old gods and seek the Living God!

Isa 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Isa 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
Isa 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

We must put away our own thoughts and seek the “Mind of Christ”!

1Co_2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

What was the mind of Christ?

To do the will of His Father!

Joh_8:28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.

When we are doing the will of our Heavenly Father, we will be doing the will of our Savior!

Until the Lord takes us home, we will still be amongst our enemies!

Sometimes we are our own worst enemy!

*Gen 35:6 So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him.
Gen 35:7 And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother.

Luz was a royal city of the Canaanites.

By the direction of God, Jacob was directed right into the mouth of the enemy.

This is the location of the Church today.

As long as we are upon this earth we will live amongst our enemies.

In reality, this nothing to be frightened of.

We are strangers and pilgrims in the land.

Even in the midst of our enemies we can find the “House of God”!

Mat_18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Notice that Jacob had found something that is more important than the House of God.

Jacob came to realize if God is not in the House, then it is not a true House of God.

It is El-bethel, the “God of House” that makes a true Church!

So many places of worship today have forgotten this.

Jesus is finding that in America, He is no longer welcome, much like when He came the first time.

Luk_9:58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

My question is how have we allowed this to happen?

We as Christians have to be the laziest people on the face of the earth!

We think once we are saved, we can forget the world we live in.

We are left in this world to make a difference and we are failing because we refuse to do the work of God.

It is the “God of the Church” that makes the difference, and He must live within us!

We cannot abandon our places of worship as we are told to today, but we had better bring Jesus with us when we go.

We need revival in America.

Not just for lost souls, as many believe, but to revive all the Church, the “Body of Christ”!

There can be no revival if it does not begin with each Church member, each believer!

Jacob built an altar to sacrifice the tenth he had promised to complete his vow, and he was now much closer to the Lord, the God of the House.

It was not the animals that made the sacrifice, it was the heart of Jacob that was important if he was to be Israel.

Heb 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

If we do not look to Jesus, then we have not laid aside every weight we carry, and we will be worn out before our journey begins.

It was not the journey Jacob made to get to the House of God, it was the journey he made after he had been to the House of God.

Will the God of the House be with him?

Joh 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
Joh 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
Joh 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
Joh 10:30 I and my Father are one.

It was a good time for one to repent and give her heart to God.

*Gen 35:8 But Deborah Rebekah’s nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allonbachuth.

We do not know for sure, but Deborah would have been more than 140 years old at the time of her death.

Gen 25:20 And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.

Compare

Gen 35:28 And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years.

Deborah had left Haran with Rebekah 140 years before this death.

“Allonbachuth” means, the “Oak of Weeping”.

No doubt this nurse had spent many of Jacob’s early years teaching him and helping to raise him.

If we set our roots down in a Bible believing Church, we will see over time, many of the Saints of God go home to glory.

These will be days of sadness until we wake up to the fact that they went to where we want to go, to the Glory World of Heaven.

Death and burial is in all our future unless the Rapture of the Church takes place before our day comes!

We must also understand that on our journey to Heaven the true “Promised Land”, we will not be exempt from the things that happen to all humans.

Our journey will not always be easy nor is it intended to be.

Life is not all that fun especially as we get older, but we live, knowing that a life given to the Lord is a life that cannot die.

I am so glad I am no longer a “dead man” but am alive forever in Christ Jesus!

So Yahweh came to visit Jacob another time.

*Gen 35:9 And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him.
Gen 35:10 And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel.

We might miss this if we are not looking.

God takes the time to remind us who we are!

God provides us that assurance we need to stay motivated!

Once Jacob had given his heart to Yahweh, The Almighty God, He then reminds Jacob he is no longer the supplanter, but he is a prince in the family of God and the priest of his own family.

Rev_1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Rev_5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

Our Lord God likes it get up close and personal and He tries much more than we do to get close to us.

We sometimes forget just how much we are loved by our Creator.

And God said:

*Gen 35:11 And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;
Gen 35:12 And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.

The great “I Am” said call me “El Shaddai” there is nothing in this Universe as powerful as the Almighty God.

Why do we express the fears that we do?

He is God “All Sufficient”!

He is able to make good on every promise He has ever made!

We must allow El Shaddai to do His work at His own pace and in His own time.

We can see that He had His watchful eyes on Israel, the man, as He has always had His eyes on Israel, the nation.

Part of those promises given to Abraham would be given to Israel and many of those promises are not yet fulfilled even today, and we should understand that we can only be a living part of God’s plan if we listen to what He says and then do as He has commanded us.

Israel would be the father of a great nation.

The tiny nation of Israel today stands a small but powerful nation, because of these blessings given to Jacob on this day we are reading of.

Also the Lord Jesus Christ is the “promised seed” and all nations have within their borders those who love and serve the Lord.

We know that Heaven where the Lord is today is that true “Promised Land”, open to all to give their heart to God Almighty, El Shaddai!

Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen

Eph 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Eph 3:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

The things of this world from Creation until today, have come about exactly as the Word of God has said, and things will continue until they reach their climax at the return of our Savior.

We have no reason to doubt the Word of God!

How can we doubt something that has proven to be true over and over again?

*Gen 35:13 And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him.
Gen 35:14 And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon.

We know God did not meet Jacob face to face or Jacob would have died on the spot, but God did meet with Israel in some visible display of His glory that hovered over him while God talked to Israel just as He did in the time of Moses over the Tabernacle.

When Jacob had first met the Lord at Bethel, he set up a stone he had used for his pillow.

Israel now took the time to erect a more stately and more lasting memorial probably placing that first stone in some part of it.

Israel then hallowed it with freewill offerings.

If our offerings are not given freely then they are meaningless!

This is the first place the drink offering is mentioned in the Bible.

In many places we will see the English word wine, but alcohol would have never been used in an offering to God.

The Bible says we are not even to look upon fermented grape juice.

Pro_23:31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.

We know that God will never go against His own Word!

Many so-religions forsake these words, but Israel would not have.

This grape juice was to be poured on the altar as a sacrifice!

There is more to a drink offering than we think!

We can call it symbolism, but we use the phrase “typology” which is more appropriate.

He first poured a drink offering of wine and then he poured oil over it.

If we look closely, we can see Jacob was prophesying about the sacrifice of Jesus by his actions.

We know that Jacob was the father of twelve sons who became the twelve tribes of Israel.

The Lord changed Jacob’s name to Israel.

One of Jacob’s sons was Judah; where we get the word Jew, and we know that Jesus was a Jewish Man from the tribe of Judah.

Jesus stated emphatically, “Salvation comes by the Jews”.

Salvation came by the Jews in their act of preserving the Word of God and teaching us by example!

Jacob poured the offering on a stone that he had set up.

Jacob did not just see a stone and use it; he set it up to make an altar. It was a pillar it was a cornerstone!

The Bible says God was going to lay a Cornerstone of salvation, a sure foundation.

The scriptures tell us Jesus is that Cornerstone, set up by God!

The drink offering of wine or grape juice symbolizes Jesus’ blood, poured out for us.

After the ‘blood’ came the oil, which symbolizes the third Person of the Godhead; the Holy Spirit, Who has been poured into Christians for us to
‘drink’.

We know of course, we receive the Holy Spirit after we have been washed in the blood of Jesus; so Jacob poured the offerings in the correct order.

The “blood of Jesus” is poured upon that lost soul, then the oil the Holy Spirit is pour into that lost soul to cause a New Life!

We see over and over again we can find salvation in the Old Testament played out to teach the Jews of the coming New Covenant by the “Blood of Jesus Christ.

God would never use some fermented corrupt liquid to show us these things!

“Fermentation” is a corruption of the “Fruit of the Vine”!

Jesus Christ was without sin and without corruption.

if we want to pour out our own drink offering, then when we go to the altar, we need to pour out our heart to a “Righteous Savior” and not some “fermented substitute”.

The best place to do this is at the House of God!

*Gen 35:15 And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel.

Remember the only city that was near this place was Luz a royal city of the Canaanites.

In the future this place would be named Bethel.

In this day of Jacob (Israel), he was saying the House of God!

God will speak to us anywhere and at any time but there is just something special about meeting with the Lord at the House of God.

Isa 43:10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
Isa 43:11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.

Amen

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