Monday, December 19, 2016

Build An Altar In Bethel

Put away the other stuff and focus in on the right God.

"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.' 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. Then let us arise and go up to Bethel, so that I may make there an altar to the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.' 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." - Genesis 35:1-4 ESV

It is funny that God is saying, 'Make an altar to the God who appeared to you.' as if there are other options. God isn't saying, 'Make an altar to Me.' He is acknowledging that Jacob has other options and He is challenging Jacob to act on one of many options.

'Which God will you choose Jacob?'

Jacob chooses the God who answered him in the day of his distress. Television, movies and music don't answer you. Food, sex and vacations don't give a living response. They can be a temporary escape but they don't change a person and they can only mirror back what is in the heart. They have no power of transformation.

When Jacob ran from Esau that was the first time he really struck out on his own and left his family behind. Mom wasn't there to help him. He didn't need to worship his father's God anymore because he wasn't under his roof. He was on his own in a cold world and God met him there to show him He wasn't alone.

You may find yourself at a crossroad or a brick wall may be in your path preventing you from going forward. Stop and decide to make an altar to the correct God. Identify the idols and put them away. They only help you to waste time while you are stuck in your present location. They are not of any real use. They just distract.

"And as they journeyed, a terror from God fell upon the cities that were around them, so that they did not pursue the sons of Jacob. And Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him, and there he built an altar and called the place El-bethel, because there God had revealed himself to him when he fled from his brother." - Genesis 35:5-7 ESV

Then God opens a path for that altar to be built.

Without a mission Jacob would have never made it to Bethel. When he decided to identify the right God then God acted on Jacob's obstacles to open the path up for Jacob to make a lasting impact on the world around him.

Now Bethel has an altar that it didn't have before. Jacob had a ministry that left a mark on a place because he chose the right God and put the other ones away.


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