THEME: THIS JOURNEY TO BETHEL (WHERE JACOB BUILT AN ALTAR TO THE LORD AFTER THE DELIVERANCE FROM ESAU) AFTER THE SLAUGHTER OF THE MEN OF SHECHEM WAS ACCOMPLISHED ONLY BY MEANS OF DIVINE PROTECTION, WHICH ITSELF WAS AT THE COST OF COMPLETE CONSECRATION WITH THE PUTTING AWAY OF ALL FOREIGN “GODS.” THERE ARE KEY MARKERS IN LIFE WHICH ARE SET APART BY SPECIAL PERIODS OF CONSECRATION TO GOD.
Hear the word of the Lord to Jacob after his sons Simeon and Levi slaughtered the men of Shechem while they were defenseless after being circumcised:
“Then God said to Jacob, ‘Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there;
and make there an altar to God who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.’
“And Jacob said to his household and to all who were 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.’
“So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods which were in their hands, and the earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree which was by Shechem.
“And 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.”
I have numbered these verses in special sections so that this devotion may take on an interpretive form. I expect you to contemplate the words more deeply than my brief comments since each section is full of deep spiritual insight.
The name “Bethel” means “House of God.” Here in the city of Bethel (also called Luz) Abram had made his first sortie into the land of Canaan as he moved southward, and there he built an altar and called on the Name of the LORD. Later, it was here that Jacob slept on a stone pillow and dreamt of the ladder that connected heaven and earth on which the angels of God ascended and descended. (See also John 1:51) This occurred in Jacob’s life in Genesis 28 when he fled from Esau and went to the house of Laban where he spent twenty years working for his two wives Leah and Rachel. He renamed the place “El-Elohei-Bethel”—GOD, the God of Bethel. It was here again (Genesis 35) that Jacob returned after the slaughter of the men of Shechem and here he renewed the altar and consecration of his first visit in chapter 28.
Bethel is a key marker in the lives of the Patriarchs. In John 1 we see the fulness of “THE LORD THE GOD OF THE HOUSE OF GOD” in the life of our Lord Jesus the Messiah who is the VERY HOUSE OF THE WORD OF GOD INCARNATE (IMMANUEL). In Him is the Fulness of the Godhead bodily and of the Spirit of Revelation and of the Manifestation of the Glory of God.
God told Jacob to “go up”. This is the term used when ascending to Jerusalem—the City of God. What is this but the fulness of Revelation 21-22 in the Transcendent Realm? At Bethel Jacob came to a portal into Eternity.
May you experience such transcendent moments in your life.