Summary: Just like God called Jacob back to Bethel, so should we hear and respond to return to our place of spiritual birth.
Return To Bethel
The life of Jacob is an interesting read for many reasons. Almost every type of person imaginable can find something in common with Jacob (even if it's nothing but being a parent). Let me recap a little of his life.
Jacob & Esau were twin boys of Issac, the son of Abraham. Jacob was the younger, but more devious of the two. Jacob was a mom's boy (cooking and cleaning) while Esau was dad's with the hunting, fishing, & the like. As you'll remember Jacob stole both the birthright and blessing from his older brother and had to run for his life. Rebekah, taking care of HER BOY, heard that Esau was out to kill Jacob, as Issac to send Jacob out of town to find a wife (and to keep her baby from being killed). Along the way, Jacob stops a Luz to spend the night. Placing his head upon a rock, in a dream, Jacob received a vision and word from God. When morning came, Jacob set the stone as a marker, he made a commitment to God, and he renamed Luz calling it Bethel. In the Hebrew language the word 'beth' literally me 'the house' and the suffix 'el' means God. So he was literally naming this place, “The House of God.”
Continuing his journey he met and fell in love with the younger of Uncle Laban's daughter. Her name was Rachel. Striking a deal with Laban, Jacob was to work 7 years for Rachel and behold, Jacob was not the only deceiver in this family. Laban gave him Leah, the older sister only make Jacob work another 7 years for Rachel. During those next years two things happened; both Laban and Jacob became wealthy and Jacob fathered 12 boys. These blessings cause a problem. Laban's sons were basically saying, “These pastures aren't big enough for the two of you.” So Jacob called his wives to a secret meeting and told them it was time for him to go home. Again, he had experienced God in a dream. In this dream, God gave Jacob a specific call and in Genesis 31:13 we read part of God's call. (Read)
In this one verse lies a great road map to restoring your heart.
1The Experience You had – It never ceases to amaze me as to what experience we can recall in our minds. I remember the first time I visited a college campus. I remember the first time I 'flew an airplane', got my first set of golf clubs, went to my first baseball practice, and received my first football uniform. These are truly embedded in my mind for all time. Every person here has those memories which we can visit at any time because they are so vibrant. Of all the things I remember in my life, there are two that stand above all the rest. It is that moment in East Brent Baptist Church, Pensacola, FL, that I had a real, personal, and life changing experience with Jesus Christ (we call it being saved) and the following year hearing God's voice calling me to preach. Like many of you, these two experiences with the Lord are revisited frequently. When my heart is low and my spirit is doubting, I can call on those experiences to renew, remind, and refresh my soul. It is my belief that we find this example in Jacob's life.
2 Return to Bethel – Pg 2
3Recognize whose you are – To get Jacob's attention, God speaks a word of reminder. He reminds Jacob of the most spiritual moment in his life and also who was responsible for it. Literally God says, “I am the God of the house of God.” Instantly, Jacob recalls that experience and understands who is really in charge. I submit that, with God's opening statement, Jacob was immediately transformed back to the night of the dream. Just like I can remember all the nuances of my salvation experience, Jacob probably called to mind all the things he sensed and felt that night. What's more, he remembered that he now was property of the Heavenly Father. In the midst of prosperity it is easy to allow our human side to take over & forget whose we are. When you recognize this, it's sobering.
4Recall what you did – Jacob made a big deal out of 'doing something.' Not only did he set up the stone that he had slept on as a marker to the Holy experience, but he anointed with oil and made it a sacred place. Isn't it interesting that God didn't say, “I told you to set up the marker and anoint it”, but rather, this is what you did. For some of us, it may be as simple as walking down an aisle, wading through the Baptismal waters, or even writing a note in the front of your Bible. Can you recall something you did when you experienced God? Can you recall that deep sense of awe and commitment which you felt? When you recall it, does it stir up something in you?