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Then God said to Jacob, "Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build
an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from
your brother Esau." 2
So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, "Get rid
of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change
your clothes. 3
Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God,
who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me
wherever I have gone."
took his family to Bethel to settle there. When he fled his home as a
young man, this was the place he first discovered God was with him,
reaching down, and ready to bless and lead. This new home for his
family would be centered around worshiping the true God. They would be
living in "Bethel" -- the "house of God."
preparation for their new lives, they cast aside the idols and earrings
of their past, and buried them in Shechem. Before setting out for
Bethel, they put on new clothes as a symbol of their new commitment to a
new way of life. They approached their new start in their new home
with a new attitude. They would even have a new name. Instead of being
the children of Jacob, they would now be the children of Israel.
first thing Jacob did when they arrived was to set up an altar and
offer worship to the one true God who had been with him every step of
the way. He understood that obedience, purification, and worship were
the foundation stones of his family's new life.
Response and Action:
has given me the opportunity to live a new life through Christ. Just
as Jacob's family had to get rid of false gods and attachments to their
pagan past, I need to cast off and leave behind my sinful habits and
desires. Worship and devotion to God are central to living a new life. I will commit myself to a new life. I
will examine my ways and my choices in the light of God's word. I will
turn away from sin. I will seek God's guidance through prayer. I will
be faithful to worship God in my daily life, and faithful to gather
with other Christians for worship every week.
God, help me to turn away from what is wrong and to do what is right.
Help me to love you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. By the
power and grace of your Holy Spirit, lead, teach, transform, shape and
strengthen me. Help me to delight in your will and walk in your ways.
Make me a new creation and teach me to live a new life. Through Christ,
I pray. Amen.
Spiritual Formation Verses:
as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with
compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Following After God
by Daniel Hill