Genesis 35:1-8

1 Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” 2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods which are among you, and purify yourselves and change your garments; 3 and let us arise and go up to Bethel, and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” 4 So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods which they had and the rings which were in their ears, and Jacob hid them under the oak which was near Shechem.

5 As they journeyed, there was a great terror upon the cities which were around them, and they did not pursue the sons of Jacob. 6 So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him. 7 He built an altar there, and called the place El-bethel, because there God had revealed Himself to him when he fled from his brother. 8 Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died, and she was buried below Bethel under the oak; it was named 1Allon-bacuth.

God knew that Jacob needed a reminder of His promise, and what better way than to visit Bethel? That was where Jacob had met God after fleeing his home to avoid Esau’s revenge. Even just the reminder of that meeting was enough to cause Jacob to get rid of all the household idols that his family and servants had been carrying with them. When we are afraid, or when we forget what God can do, we need to go back to the beginning. That may be when you first ‘got saved’. It may be when God first became real to you. Whatever it is, going back to the beginning can help renew our faith and trust in God.

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