SOUL FOOD: August 17, 2003

BACK TO BETHEL, Turning Point of a Life

Genesis 35:1-7

By Pastor Yau



BETHEL, the House of the LORD, was the place where Jacob first met GOD when he was fleeing from the pursuit of his brother Esau.After many years of human efforts and acquiring of family, wealth and success, God called him back to Bethel where HE changed Jacob to Israel, a man of worldly craftiness to a man of God, champion of selfish endeavor to the father of a nation from which a Savior was born for the salvation of the world.BACK TO BETHEL is a turning point in the life of Jacob which determined his destiny and position in human history. Let us look at the steps Jacob took:



†††††† Jacob was not at his quiet time, seeking Godís direction for his life. He was not agonizing to overcome a mountainous problem that might bring him down, he was out and about on his routine of business and daily life when God appeared to him and called him to go back to Bethel.Often times, people tend to get themselves so involved in their pursuits of life that they do not have the heart or ear to hear Godís direction to them.When a man is full of the world in his heart, he wonít hear God and His message to him.

†††††† Jacob didnít just hear Godís voice he obeyed God by getting ready himself and his family for the move.Today, too many of those call themselves children either didnít hear Godís voice or didnít obey it even they have heard it.

††††††† How do we hear the word of God?

1)      Read His word, the Bible. Have a regular devotional time each day. God will speak to you from the Bible.

2)      Ask God in your prayers. Seeking His guidance. His Spirit will guide you to the right path.

3)      Attend worship service and Bible study. Listen attentively to messages and exposition of His word.

4)      Seek advice from godly person who will help you to hear and understand God.



†††††† When I was reading this passage, I ask the question: can God just give His blessings to Jacob while he was in Harem.Why canít HE let Jacob have both God and the world at the same time? Many of us do want to follow Godís call, but are reluctant to give up the world.†† Thatís exactly why God canít make Jacob to become Israel in Harem.

†††††† Harem represents the old life of Jacob, the worldly, the cheating, the selfishness and self indulgence.†† All that Jacob treasures in Harem MUST go, be rid of, before God can use him and bestow on him HIS blessings.If you desire to receive Godís power and blessing, you must LET GO of the old to receive the new.This is not an easy process, but is a necessary step. When Paul was called to do Godís work and became the most powerful champion of the faith, he said all that he used to treasure, he now sees them as rubbish.You need to be BROKEN first before God can make you a new vessel.


†††††† A physical move from Harem to Bethel will not get Jacob ready and fit for Godís use.He knows he has to get rid of the foreign gods and everything else that represent unclean life and worldly purpose to receive Godís blessings. We have to examine ourselves from the inside, if there is anything, any person, any secret desires, any past sins, any elicit relationship, any ill feeling against anyone, un-repented sins, greed, jealousy, hatred, and all the things you know you canít and wonít bring into the Kingdom of God, you NEED to LET GO.†† Jacob buried them all before he and his family began to move.By carrying the load of sin and secrets of your life, your journey to follow God will be more difficult and less effective.



†††††† After Jacob obey Godís call, got rid of all the hindrances, purified himself and his family, they moved to Bethel where God gave him a new name, a new ID, a new purpose of life.He is no longer a Jacob, he is Israel.He is no longer a man lives for his worldly purpose, but a man in Godís hand for a much better plan, a plan of a nation, a people from which kings will be born, and a Savior will come.If Jacob refused the call of God and continued to stay in Harem, he still will be a rich man, lived to his old age and died with all the wealth and family he had. But he will never be remembered as one of the most respected heroes of faith.He will not be the father of kings, and the human ancestor of the Savior, Jesus.