From Be-thel to El-Bethel
In Genesis 28:19, we read the story of Jacob’s first personal encounter with the Lord. It was here at a place called Luz where God revealed himself to Jacob through an amazing dream. Through this meeting God affirms His Covenant with Jacob just as He had with his father Isaac, and his father Abraham. When Jacob awakens, by his own testimony he is terrified and overwhelmed at this experience. Though this was a new experience, something begins to stir in his heart. His faith begins to be lifted and his soul is stirred. The scripture tells us that he rises up early and consecrates the place with oil. He then changes the name of the town from Luz to Beth-el (House of God), and makes a vow to God that he would come again to this place (Beth-el).
Fast forward over 20 years and we come to Genesis 35 and Jacob has come full circle. Time will not permit to tell all that Jacob had experienced over the past two decades, but through all the highs and the lows, the ups and the downs, the lies and deceits we realize one great truth. God had kept His promise to Jacob and now it was time for Jacob to keep his! In verse (7) we read – And he built there an altar, and called the place El-Beth-el: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother.
Here it is after 20 plus years! Jacob finally moves from a Beth-el to an El-Beth-el experience. You might say what’s the big deal? In Bethel, Jacob’s relationship with God is new and untested. His understanding of God came from others and not of his own testimony. Now through all of the trials and difficulty Jacob can say out of his own heart that God is faithful and longsuffering and He is more than able to keep that which we have committed unto Him! Hence the name change from Beth-el to El-Beth-el. Jacobs’s relationship moves from knowing “The House of God” to ultimately knowing “The God - of The House of God”.
My prayer today is that we too may grow in our relationship with the Lord in such a way that we just don’t know about the House of God, but that we might know the God of the House of God.