return of Jacob to Bethel in accordance with the commitment made in that
place and the mandate of the Lord to him to return.
AIM: That we
might be moved to revisit promises received and vows made that we would
be delivered from presumption.
return to Bethel was not as we might have thought in that Jacob seemed
to delay and encountered difficulty as a result.
1. The sojourn at
Shechem lasted about ten years and occasioned a tragic occurrence and
the treachery of the sons of Jacob.
2. As is often the case, the Lord
allowed their discomfiture through their own actions and failure to act
with urgency on the command of the Lord.
3. What follows here tells
us much of the relation of Jacob with the Lord as it points us to
eternal truths concerning the Lord and challenges us to a proper worship
worship and devotion to God are neglected, and we become forgetful of
past mercies and deliverance, there will come the diversion of our
attention from the Lord's presence and to the tolerance of unacceptable
I. A time of purging (vv. 1-4)
1. The mandate is clear
that he is to go to Bethel with no more stops.
1) The Lord had
reminded Jacob that He was the God of Bethel when He commanded the
departure from Haran.
2) The delay had been costly where immediate
obedience would have prevented - all providential.
2. The entourage
included people that were of heathen origin who would have been
practicing idolatry in the presence of the household and
2) The matters of purification both
symbolically and spiritually are often referenced.
3. It was at this
point that Jacob rehearsed the events of thirty years before to enforce
the importance of what was about to happen.
4. All the symbols of
idolatry were put from them and hidden in a place indicating strength
and the unlikelihood of rediscovery and reuse.
II. A protective
providence (vv. 5-8)
1. The fear of Jacob was that the actions of his
sons would enflame all the peoples in the area, but the opposite was
true, and they gave him a wide berth as he traveled
1) The terror of
God was upon them and
2) We are reminded of the ability of the Lord
to turn unregenerate hearts to His purposes.
2. From the lone figure
on that fateful night of many years before to the full company that was
Jacob's household, there would be a renewal of true worship with Jacob
and the appearance of the Lord to him.
3. The altar was built and was
called Elbethel which is God the house of God.
4. The death of
Deborah, Rebekah's nurse was significant in that she had played an
important role in the household, but now signified a complete break with
the past in Haran.
1) It is uncertain as to how she came to be with
them, perhaps joining them for the return or having been sent by Rebekah
to accompany her son and his house.
2) Her memory is preserved, and
the place called Allonbachuth - The Oak of Weeping.
promise renewed (vv. 9-15)
1. God appeared again (the name is plural
- Elohim) in human form and blessed him there
2. The name Israel is
reaffirmed, or it is established as promised when Jacob wrestled with
3. The covenant is restated in its entirety assuring Jacob
of the divinely appointed role:
1) Declaring I am the God Almighty
(El Shaddai) we are minded of the words to Abraham in Genesis 17:1 - "I
am the Almighty God; walk before me and be thou perfect"
Jacob is told to "be fruitful and multiply."
3) It will be in the
might of God that all will be accomplished.
4) His seed would inherit
4. And so, Jacob worshiped
1) Before he had anointed a
stone, now he built a pillar and
2) Poured out a drink offering –
thereby consecrating it to the worship of God and anointed it with oil - typical of sanctifying to a purpose.
5. And Jacob again called the
Name of the place Bethel in that God had again appeared to him there.