I came to Genesis 35 in my time with God reading through the Bible this week. Here’s a modified Journal entry.
Gen 35:1 Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel & live there, & make an alter there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your bro Esau.” His life was a mess at this time. A skeptic could say, “how convenient that God spoke at this time.” But no, the deep truth that I’ve experienced is that You are still willing to speak & to lead & to guide when our lives are a mess.
6 So Jacob came to Luz (that is Bethel)…7 He built an alter THERE, & called the place l, b/c THERE God had revealed Himself to him when he fled. The significance of places where I have met God. It’s funny how I feel it when I’m at one of these places.
Bethel’s in my life:
– Huntington Beach pier – Where I wrestled with the decision to accept the call to Christ Community Church in Omaha. I remember the exact spot on the rail I was leaning on looking south.
– Tollhouse rock – this isolated rock climbing rock face with beautiful views. It was about 40 minutes from my house in Fresno. I had several major words from God as I’d wait on the Lord there.
– Uncle Harry’s Bagels – that was my Thursday morning spot.
– Dietrich’s in PB
– Dam Site 13 / Standing Bear Lake – another Omaha place. Several times I experienced enough of God’s grace there to not quit ministry.
– My room when in High School – the place I received Christ in High School. – The place I surrendered to Christ
– My New Bethel – Whitely’s house at Canebrake Canyon (a.k.a. middle of no where)
– OGN – a different kind of Bethel, communal & historical through some of the movements in my life. (see older post on OGN if you don’t know or recall what this is).
– A counseling room at Talbot Theological Seminary – I had to get counseling as a class requirement for a course in grad school. The Rosemead School of Psychology PhD & Psy.D students needed someone to practice on. To be clear, we all did, not just me. It cost $5 / per session. Back then, $5 was… well nothing it was 5 bucks. I thought it would be fun to look at inkblots & talk about how my mom screwed me up. I had several breakthroughs that have marked me positively to this day. My counselors name was Jack. I wish I knew how to get a hold of him to say thanks.
We are not disembodied spirits. We are beings that inhabit time & space. So although places do not carry ultimate significance, there do carry some significance. They can be sanctified, holy-ized, if you will, by what God did there.
What are some of your “Bethels”? Leave a comment & tell us why a place is a Bethel for you.