It had been a difficult transition. Israel and His family had faced Esau. Dinah was raped by a Canaanite prince and the family retaliated by wiping out the town and taking all that was there. They became hated by the neighbors and trouble was brewing.
Then, God stepped in. He met Israel and told him to gather everything up and move back to Bethel. So, Jacob did as God told him. Interestingly, the first command He gave his family was to get rid of all their foreign gods and purify themselves. Canaan had rubbed off on them. They had become comfortable in the culture and had allowed the culture to seep into their lives.
Israel said, God has carried us, we need to honor Him. Clean up your acts and let’s go. And they obeyed Israel and God protected them from all the people groups in the land. He also moved them to a better place and settled them there. It was a transition back to God’s leadership and blessing.
In our lives, we sometimes grow comfortable to be a part of the culture and forget we are to be holy and separate. We are to be in the world, but not of the world. Sadly, as we do life, it is easy to slip into a routine that looks like everyone else in the world. When that happens the culture seeps into our lives, and we look more like it than we would like.
That is when God steps in and says let me lead. Our response needs to be the same as Israel’s response, “Get rid of your foreign gods and purify yourselves.”
That should almost be our daily life command. As we purify our lives and turn from the gods of this world, God can then lead and bless us. Then we can be the chosen people we were called to be. We can be assured that God will take the lead. It is certainly a great trade for us.
God Bless You
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.” 4 So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the oak at Shechem. 5 Then they set out, and the terror of God fell on the towns all around them so that no one pursued them.
6 Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan. 7 There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel,[a] because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.
8 Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died and was buried under the oak outside Bethel. So it was named Allon Bakuth.[b]
9 After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram,[c] God appeared to him again and blessed him. 10 God said to him, “Your name is Jacob,[d] but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.[e]” So he named him Israel.
11 And God said to him, “I am God Almighty[f]; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will be among your descendants. 12 The land I gave to Abraham, and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.” 13 Then God went up from him at the place where he had talked with him.
14 Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. 15 Jacob called the place where God had talked with him Bethel.[g]