Today's Manna

January 25, 2017
Back to Bethel
by Eric Doucet
Scripture Reading: Genesis 35

For Jacob, going back to Bethel meant submission to God. Bethel was supposed to be His destination when God told Him to return to the land of his fathers in Genesis 31. Jacob showed his reluctance to fulfill his vow to God by stopping first at Succoth and Scechem. These stops not only cost him precious time with God (8-10 years), they also cost him morally and spiritually (Gen 34).

Jacob's vow required him to give a tenth of all he had to God. I don't think Jacob was reluctant to do this because when he made the vow he had nothing. God had indeed blessed him, so giving a tenth back to God wouldn't have caused his reluctance to go to Bethel.

As part of his vow, though, Jacob also promised God He would be his God if God protected him and blessed him. God certainly had done what Jacob asked, now it was way past time for Jacob to keep his promise. He must submit to God and follow Him.

Jacob, like many believers today, wanted the blessings and protection of God without actually having to submit to God. He wanted to serve God on his terms, not God's. However, Bethel is not only the place of submission to God, it is also the place of blessing from God. God renewed His promise to Jacob, but in addition He also expanded His promise to include a promise to bless Jacob's lineage with nations and kings, as well a promise that Jacob and his descendants would inherit the land promised to Abraham and Isaac. Therefore, Jacob's refusal to submit to God resulted in the delay of God's blessings.

The same is true in our lives. We have a Father in Heaven who loves blessing His children (Matt 7:11). Yet, our refusal to submit to Him results in delayed blessings, or the loss of blessings entirely. We look at submission to God as a bad thing, something to be avoided. Yet, the opportunity to submit to the One who loves us unconditionally, Who died for us as a result of His love, Who was resurrected, and Who now intercedes for us before God the Father, is one of the greatest privileges we have in this life. Submission to Christ is not a burden, it is the ultimate blessing.

Let's put away our idols, purify ourselves, change our spiritual clothes (Eph 4:22-24), and return to the place of blessing by submitting to God in every area of our lives.

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