“God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there. Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.”
Bethel. “House of El” or “House of God”. It is the place where God revealed Himself to Jacob, the place where Jacob heard God’s voice.
Get up. Go to the house of God and live there. Stop coming and going. Stop visiting. Stop going around it. Make your dwelling in My presence. “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” Remain in the place of revelation. Stay where you hear My voice.
“So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, ‘Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments.'”
Put away your sin. Return to purity. Clothe yourself in Christ. “put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires…” …“put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Change your garments, beloved. You are coming to the place of God’s presence. He is holy and His presence is holy and you have been called to be holy with Him.
“So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods that they had, and the rings that were in their ears. Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree that was near Shechem.”
He hid them rather than destroy them. We are not much different. It’s time to dig up what we’ve buried because hidden sin does not stay hidden. Eventually, it will surface and bring destruction with it. We are called to destroy our sin, not tuck it away somewhere, hoping no one finds it. “Therefore, put to death what belongs to your worldly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry.”
Jacob’s stay at the physical Bethel was temporary, but our call to the spiritual “El Bethel” is not. I believe we are at a crossroads at the moment, and many of God’s people will be faced with a decision. We cannot continue to keep one foot in two different kingdoms. A line will be drawn and we must choose which side of that line we will take our stand on.
The call is to rise up and return to the presence of God. Put away carnal, idolatrous living. Deal death blows to your sin, put on Christ, and come back to the revelation and the voice of God.
John 15:4; Ephesians 4:22; 1 Peter 1:16; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:5