The God Who Reveals
Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalms 10:11-15 | Genesis 35:1 – 36:43 | Matthew 12:1-21 | Proverbs 3:21-26
Today’s Scripture Focus: Genesis 35
“Come, let us go to Bethel, and I will build an altar there to the God who answered me when I was in distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.” (Genesis 35:3, Tanakh).
Bethel was a special place for Jacob. It was here that God had revealed himself. He had been in distress, and here he cried out in his need; God answered with his very presence.
At God’s prompting, Jacob returns to Bethel. But he and his family must be prepared. He encourages them to purify themselves, to rid themselves of idols, and to change their clothes.
They returned to Bethel. “And there he build an altar and named the site El-bethel, for it was there that God had revealed Himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother” (7).
God appears again at Bethel. This time with a name change and a blessing. He would now be known as “Israel” and would be blessed with the promises given to Abraham.
Israel sets up a monument. This is a place to be remembered. This is where he met God personally and powerfully. This is a place where his life and destiny were unalterably changed.
Perhaps you too have “Bethels”—places where God met you in your despair and need; places where he revealed himself and you were changed. It is good to remember those times, those places, those encounters with God.
Perhaps it is time for a return to Bethel— a time to remember how God met me in the past. Perhaps in preparing to return, there will a fresh encounter with God. These holy times must be remembered. These holy places memorialized. These holy moments experienced again and again.
God of Bethel, I celebrate the times you have met me in the past, and look forward to holy moments of your presence today and in days to come. Amen.