Genesis 35:1-8 (Arise, Go Up to Bethel)

Genesis 35:1-8
Arise, Go Up to Bethel

Introduction: Today’s sermon actually got started over six months ago. My friend Sergio who used to attend here, now living in Israel, had some questions about this passage as it was part of his daily reading. We talked about it, as we often do and came to some conclusions. Afterward, he looked into it a little more and I did as well. He sent me an email with his thoughts which I saved.

Here is the opening greeting in the email, reflecting the kind of guy he is – “Charlie – Today’s conversation was probably the best conversation I ever had, simply because we were working together towards solving a question in the Bible.”

1) Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. Psalm 133
2) Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions. 1 Kings 10:1
3) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly… Colossians 3:16

Sergio continues, “I am excited to write down these thoughts.” Then he wrote them down and they have been incorporated into the sermon in large part.

As Sergio reads and studies, he writes down questions and then purposes to find answers to those questions. This is what all of us should do as we read the Bible. We learn more by teaching than sitting in class listening because the questions force us to think. This is often what I’ll do when typing. I keep asking “why Lord?”

I’ll give you an example from his notes which are a part of today’s passage – “The word used in Hebrew for terebinth tree in verse 4 is not the same word as in verse 8 – in verse 4 it says Terebinth tree in female form, in verse 8, terebinth tree is in male form. Interesting – why is this so? and why are these two mentioned?”

I didn’t find an answer to this question, but it did challenge me. Nothing is ever wasted when we ask questions of the Bible and of the Lord also. This is what I recommend to you as you read. Note: I said “as” you read, not “if” you read.

Text verse: I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go into the house of the Lord.” Psalm 122:1

Jacob is going to Bethel, the House of God, in today’s verses. Everything we’ve seen thus far in Jacob’s life has been directed to this picture of the work of God in Christ and so… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. Go Up to the House of God

Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.”

“Then God said” which opens this chapter tells us that this is following chronologically after the incident of chapter 34 where Jacob’s sons killed all the males at Shechem and took all the females and the plunder captive.

It is God directing Jacob specifically. The last time we saw this happen was in Genesis 31:3 and 13, which was six or seven years earlier. He was living in Padan Aram when we read this –

“Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you.” … “I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow to Me. Now arise, get out of this land, and return to the land of your family.”

Since that time, Jacob returned and lived first in Succoth and then in Shechem – picturing the church age and the millennial reign from Jerusalem. Now, at God’s divine direction, he’s instructed to once again move to a specific location and for a specific purpose. He is told to “go up to Bethel and dwell there.”

Bethel was the second stopping place for his grandfather Abraham when he lived in the land and it’s about 28 miles south of Shechem, so it’s not that far – it would be like God telling you to move to from Sarasota to Punta Gorda. It’s also the last recorded place he was at before he left the land of Canaan well over 20 years earlier.

When he was there, the Lord appeared to him and said “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.” Now only the term El is used – “Mighty One.” This is probably because of the location’s name – Bethel or “the house of El.”

He is told to dwell there and to make an altar there. And God gives him the reason. He says to make the altar “to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.” This was back in Genesis 28. After his vision in the night, Jacob woke up and made this vow –

“If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. 22 And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”

Although Jacob built an altar in Shechem, it is now time to build one in Bethel, the House of God. This would be in fulfillment of his vow to the Lord before he left.

And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments.

The standard thought is that this is speaking about the idols that Rachel had stolen from her father before they left Mesopotamia and fled. These may have been in the camp, but even if they were, that isn’t the whole scope of what Jacob is talking about.

In just a few verses, it’ll mention other things that were included. Jacob had many servants from Mesopotamia as we’ve already seen. They probably had their own idols that they brought along. He also acquired all the women and booty from Shechem and that would have included many more.

But now, moving at God’s direction and to the House of God, they are told to “put away the foreign gods.” The term is elohey hannechar which can also be translated, the gods of the foreigners. Everything that had been brought into his camp which could defile the worship of the true God was to be disposed of.

After this, they were to purify themselves and change their garments. Washing and changing of garments is something that is seen throughout the Bible in anticipation of meeting with God. In Exodus 19:10 & 14, it was seen at the giving of the law –

10 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. … 14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes.

The same concept is seen in the 24th Psalm in preparation for a meeting with the Lord –

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive blessing from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Your face. Selah

And as a third example, almost the exact same words were spoken by Joshua to Israel concerning their obligation to the Lord –

23 “Now therefore,” he said, “put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the Lord God of Israel.” 24 And the people said to Joshua, “The Lord our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey!” Joshua 24 LIFE APPLICATION – both the externals and internals

Then let us arise and go up to Bethel;

After the rite of purification, only then will they arise and go up to the House of God. They have now purged themselves of what is impure, both physically and spiritually, and have changed into clean garments which are an outward reflection of the inward purity they were to possess.

This is actually something that we see in its truest sense as revealed in the New Testament faith found in Christ –

19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:19-22

3 (con’t) and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me in the way which I have gone.”

This is Jacob’s statement acknowledging the vow which was reminded to him by God in verse 1. He was in distress as he departed his home after being threatened by Esau. And he was in distress many times in the ensuing years.

Time and again we’ve seen Jacob face a challenge and the Lord there with him in his trial. The altar is a demonstration of gratitude to Him as much as anything else. “You have provided as You promised and here is this altar of my thanks and devotion to you.”

So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods which were in their hands, and the earrings which were in their ears;

In obedience to the patriarch, the people of the camp gave everything which was an idol or a talisman to Jacob. This included even the earrings which were used in this manner, just as many people use necklaces today. Adam Clarke in his writings describes one he owned personally –

“Ear-rings were certainly worn as amulets and charms, first consecrated to some god, or formed under some constellation, on which magical characters and images were drawn. A very ancient and beautiful one of this kind brought from Egypt, cut out of a solid piece of cornelian, now lies before me. … it is engraved all over with strange characters and images, which prove that it was intended for a talisman or amulet.”

4 (con’t) and Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree which was by Shechem.

The terebinth tree here is surely the same one which was mentioned back in grandfather Abraham’s time in Genesis 12:6, just as Abraham entered the land of Canaan we read these words –

“Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land.”

What may seem like a diversion, but which isn’t, is to explain what the name of the tree, Moreh, means. It means early rain as used in Joel 2:23 when speaking of the future millennial kingdom –

Be glad then, you children of Zion, And rejoice in the Lord your God; For He has given you the former rain faithfully, And He will cause the rain to come down for you—The former rain, And the latter rain in the first month.

This same word Moreh also means “teacher.” Both words come from the verb yarah which means to throw or shoot. Another derivation of the root is the word Torah, meaning Law. The name “Jerusalem” also may have reminded the people of this verb too. This tree is being tied to what has happened and what is coming.

II. God of the House of God

And they journeyed, and the terror of God was upon the cities that were all around them, and they did not pursue the sons of Jacob.

The sons of Jacob had just killed all the men of the town of Shechem and taken captive all the women and goods. Following directly after this, God spoke to him about moving on.

Not only would the people of Canaan have friends in Shechem, but many would have family members that married into their town – daughters as wives and sons as husbands. The natural thing would be for them to pursue and kill Jacob and his clan for what they did.

Instead though, it says that khitat elohim, a “terror from God” came upon the surrounding cities. Whatever this was, through nature or the superstitious beliefs of the people, God ensured that Jacob wouldn’t be pursued as he traveled south to Bethel.

As a bonus to Jacob, we’ll see that he retains possession of the land. Genesis 37, tells us that his sons went up to Shechem to attend to his flocks. Later in Genesis 48, as he settles his estate before he dies, he disposes of it in his meeting with Joseph.

And as a final note on this land, it still contained a well known as “Jacob’s well” almost 2000 years later when a Man named Jesus sat with a woman and talked with her in the area. The sites where all of these things took place are all still there today for anyone looking for a nice historic vacation in Israel.

So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him.

Now after these many long years, close to thirty, Jacob is finally returning to Bethel, the place where he lay sleeping with his head on a stone as a pillow and had a vision of the Lord. He was all but alone when he was there the last time. Now he has four wives, at least 12 children, servants, flocks of animals, and wealth.

Everything that he had been promised was granted by the Lord above the ladder. The angels who ascended and descended had attended to him all along, and he was divinely protected throughout it all. This must be the reason for the inclusion of the name of the city – Luz – and the term “in the land of Canaan.”

In other words, when the promise was made the town’s name was Luz and he was in the land of promise, now he is again at this spot in the land of promise and the promise is fulfilled. And so it is time for him to fulfill his promise. The area which is named Luz, indicating a corrupt and perverse people, is to now be formally renamed, Bethel, The House of God.

And he built an altar there and called the place El Bethel,

By building the altar to God, he is establishing it as God’s House. This is what was done by David when he bought the property for the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. He built an altar and sacrificed to the Lord there.

It is also the first thing the Babylonian exiles did, even before laying the foundation of the temple. We read it in Ezra 3:2, 3 –

Then Jeshua the son of Jozadakand his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and his brethren, arose and built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the Law of Moses the man of God. Though fear had come upon them because of the people of those countries, they set the altar on its bases; and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening burnt offerings.

The spot of land is dedicated by the altar. The pillar of promise set so long ago has become an altar of fulfillment to the promise. And as an acknowledgment of it, he calls the place El Bethel – God of the House of God. All those years earlier, when he named the place Bethel, he said that God would be his God if he took care of him and brought him back safely.

Now he is back and God is his God. As Matthew Henry says, “The comfort the saints have in holy ordinances, is not so much from Beth-el, the house of God, as from El-beth-el, the God of the house. The ordinances are empty things, if we do not meet with God in them.” LIFE APPLICATION – church without God, religion without relationship, deeds with wrong faith. Worship isn’t for us. It is for God.

7 (con’t) because there God appeared to him when he fled from the face of his brother.

This verse, which Sergio and I talked about, is one of only a handful, literally five times, in the OT, where the term “God” is used with a plural verb. In Hebrew it says, ki sham niglu elav ha’elohim, “there the gods were (?)…” It doesn’t say God appeared to him; your Bible is mistranslated. Why would they do this?

This verse causes all kinds of problems with scholars because there is obviously only one God, not many. But translators don’t want to translate this as it appears because then it seems to make no sense. And so your translation, whether you realize it or not, doesn’t reflect what the Hebrew text says. This includes ye olde KJV.

I say that the plural is correct. It’s not talking about God appearing here at all. Rather, the building of the altar and the naming of the place is to affirm that there is only one God. This is why he names the place El Bethel – God of the House of God. He is now fulfilling the very vow which was made so many years earlier.

“If God will be with me, …, then the Lord shall be my God.”

In other words, by proving yourself faithful to me I will be faithful to you. All other gods will be removed from me. And this is what the verb niglu, which he uses, means. It’s used only one other time in the Bible in this form, in Jeremiah 13:12. There it says in the NASB, “Your skirts have been removed.” This plural verb, niglu, comes from the root galah which means “to cover” or “remove.”

If it was that God that “appeared” as your Bible says, then a different word yera should have been used just as it is with any divine appearance. In Exodus 3:2, it says way-ye-ra mal-ak, “the angel appeared.” In Genesis 12:7, way-ye-ra Yah-weh el abram, “the Lord appeared to Abram.”

In fact, this word, yera, is used even in this chapter, in verse 1 and again in verse 9. This shows us that it certainly isn’t speaking about God appearing at all.

People have claimed the Hebrew is wrong (that’s convenient!), it’s a scribal error, or they’ve made up numerous other excuses as to why the plural verb is used, but the plain sense of it is that your Bible is mistranslated. Rather, Jacob was probably as confused about God as most people.

Thus there was the need for the Lord to appear to him at Bethel and there was the need for the Lord to prove Himself faithful to the request. The gods were removed from Jacob potentially at that time – “If you will do these things, you will be my God.”

The gods were removed actually when God appeared to him in Shechem in verse 1 and reminded him of his vow. Thus we have the purification of the people in preparation for the divine meeting in verse 2, and the burying of the false gods in verse 3.

This is what is being relayed here. The Lord is the true God and Jacob now has acknowledged that be removing the false gods. They were removed from Jacob at Bethel when he fled from the face of his brother in hope, and they were removed from Jacob as he left Shechem in home.

This is an explanation which completely covers the use of the plural verb. You see, we need to let the chips fall where they fall and not try to hide otherwise difficult verses that may not fit with what we think we know. Having said that, I have found not one other commentator on this anywhere, so you’ll either have to stick with your translation or seek to find out if I’m correct or not.

There is nothing wrong with either the Hebrew text or a proper translation of it which says. “The gods were removed…” This is what happens. They were removed from the house and covered with dirt.

III. Deborah, The Honey and the Milk

Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died, and she was buried below Bethel under the terebinth tree. So the name of it was called Allon Bachuth.

This person, only mentioned here by name, is the same person mentioned in Genesis 24:59 – “So they sent away Rebekah their sister and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant and his men.”

If you missed that sermon, and several others, you missed the reason for her inclusion in God’s word. It is extremely rare to be included in the Bible. Of the billions and billions of people who have ever lived, only a few are mentioned.

And even fewer are given such incredible note. Very few people’s death and burial are recorded and yet hers is. Even the place is noted and it is named based on her burial. Never have I read a commentary explaining why she is included at all. Commentators go no further than explain who she is, but not her importance nor the reason why God included this one verse about her.

Today you will see why. As I showed when she was introduced, she pictures the Word of God, the Bible. Her name means “Bee.” A bee produces honey. But she is also described as a wet nurse (yanaq) – a woman who suckles children, thus giving milk. Both of these are used to symbolize the Word of God in the Bible. A few of many examples of note are as follows –

Look down from Your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel and the land which You have given us, just as You swore to our fathers, “a land flowing with milk and honey.”’ Deuteronomy 26:15

God’s land is the land of the Bible – of milk and honey. It is called this numerous times. And Peter says this in his first letter –

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,  if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 1 Peter 2:1-3

And John speaks also of the sweetness of God’s word –

So I went to the angel and said to him, “Give me the little book.” And he said to me, “Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.” Revelation 10:9

Deborah was the one to have suckled Rebekah when she was born, but one might question, why would they send her wet nurse with her when she went to meet Isaac? She was all grown up. The reason is that she performed this function as her lifetime role.

People think a wet-nurse must have recently undergone childbirth. This isn’t true. Suckling itself elicits lactation in a woman. The account of one wet-nurse, Judith Waterford, comes from 1831. “On her 81st birthday, she could still produce breast milk. In her prime she unfailingly produced two quarts of breast milk a day.”

My grandmother was raised in China in the early 1900s and she said this was a common job for some women. Their profession was to be a wet nurse their whole life. And so, based on this, and that we previously saw that Deborah went to Padan Aram with Jacob, she probably suckled every person born into this family, from Rebekah, to Jacob and Esau, and all the way to Joseph and Dinah.

This is why she went with Jacob when he went to Mesopotamia – because it was her duty to the family who came from Rebekah. And thus, under this tree named Allon Baccuth – the Oak of Weeping, below Bethel, the entire family who had been suckled by this woman of note wept as the source of their own developing lives, was laid to rest. What do you think that’s picturing?

Now that we’ve looked at the surface details of this story, the cultural and historical aspects of it, we need to ask ourselves, why? Why has God included these details? They’re interesting, yes, but God must be showing us something… and here is the Light –

Since Jacob was introduced, we’ve seen stories continuously unfolding, showing us the broad panorama of what God is doing in history and how it all centers on, and points to, Jesus. Jacob has left Shechem in the Land of Canaan where an altar had been built.

This was, as we saw, a picture of the Millennial reign of Christ, the final dispensation the Bible notes – Man under the personnel reign of Christ. After that was the insert story concerning Dinah. A three part series which pointed to the need to avoid legalism and works-based salvation, but to rely solely on the grace of Christ. This is something needed throughout all ages, even in the millennium.

What comes after the millennial reign? The eternal state – we call it heaven. God directs Jacob to leave where he is, Shalem in Shechem, picturing Jerusalem in the Land of Canaan and to go to Bethel. In chapter 28 it was a picture of heaven; it is again now.

Jacob left his home, Jesus left His home. Jacob went to Padan Aram – the place of elevated ransom. Jesus came to earth and paid an elevated ransom. Jacob acquired Leah and Rachel. Jesus fulfilled the law and brought us grace. Jacob had his children, picturing the people of Israel and the work of Jesus.

The story continued steadily through all of the pictures of these last 25 sermons, each detailing portions of Jacob’s life, and each pictured the steady unfolding work of Jesus. Now that the millennium has come and gone, there are final words of glory in the last two chapters of Revelation, pictured in these eight verses.

Jacob instructs his household (meaning every picture we’ve seen – the law, grace, the church age, the time of Israel, the captivities of Israel, the millennium, and everything else) to put away the foreign gods, purify yourself, and change your garments. All of this is to be found in the Bible pointing to the work of Christ in our lives. In Daniel 12:10 we read this –

Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.

In Revelation 3 we read this –

He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

This process has been going on since the beginning and it will continue to the last moment. People abandoning their idols and being purified and clothed in the righteousness of Christ. This is all pictured by this one verse. Only after this occurs will we travel to Bethel – the House of God, heaven. As it says in Revelation 21 –

And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. 27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie (26, 27)

There at the terebinth tree of Moreh where the promise was made to Abraham, the people buried their idols. Moreh, as noted, indicates the early rains which fill the valley of Baca, the valley of weeping – which is our lives. It also means Teacher. The tree of the Teacher who instructs us on who God is.

The idols of the people of all ages are buried there right up until the ending of the millennium, pictured by Jacob’s time in the city of Shalem reflecting Jesus’ reign in Jerusalem.

Only after the people are purified, made spotless, and wearing the whitened garments of Christ are they ready for the final stage of their journey. Along the way, God divinely protects his people, pictured by the terror of God upon the people as they traveled.

Finally Jacob comes to Luz, that is Bethel. Both names are given and so we have to go back to our last visit here and remind you of their meaning and significance.

Luz comes from a verb which means “to turn aside” in a negative way – such as turning away from wisdom or being a twisted person. Luz is named after a “crooked and perverse generation” that lived there. It is the world of fallen man but the Lord came to the twisted and crooked earth, leaving the glory of the House of God – Bethel, to redeem his people.

Luz is a fruit similar to the almond but which matures differently. Luz starts off sweet and becomes bitter, in contrast to the almond which starts bitter and becomes sweet. Man corrupted the sweet paradise created by God and it became bitter – Luz. The Lord has come to restore what was made bitter by restoring to us access to the House of God – Bethel. This is why both names are given.

There in Bethel, picturing the New Heavens and the New Earth, it says Jacob built an altar and called the place El Bethel. Yes, there is an altar in heaven, Revelation tells us so. Jacob calls his altar El Bethel – God, of the House of God; the God of Heaven. Notice the difference between this altar and the one he built in Shechem –

El Elohe Israel, God, the God of Israel – in Shechem (Millennial reign in Israel)
El Bethel, God of the House of God – in Bethel (Heaven)

The God of Israel is Jesus (El Elohe Israel). He is no less God in Heaven, but in eternity we will see the fullness of the Godhead (El Bethel). When going over the verses with my friend Sergio more than half a year ago, he wrote asking –

“Why would Jacob name the place again? He already named it in Chapter 28. And, he was reminded of the name in verses 1-2? Obviously Jacob did not try to name the place with the same name again, but rather was pointing out that there is only one God?” That was very astute of Sergio.

Can you see why asking the Bible questions as you study is so helpful? Questions help to provide the answers. The reason for the name being given again, after being given so many times, is because of what it pictures – the procession of the Godhead in eternity, something we will experience personally. Paul tells us –

27 For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. 1 Corinthians 15:27, 28

Finally, after this glorious picture of heaven and us in the presence of God of the House of God, we read this verse which seems almost like and unnecessary insert. Why is it included?

8 Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died, and she was buried below Bethel under the terebinth tree. So the name of it was called Allon Bachuth.

Think… why. Why is this there? Deborah, the instruction of God which has been with man all along, feeding us with delight like honey, and sustenance like milk, will no longer be needed. The Bible is complete with the word “Amen” at the end of Revelation. The pictures are complete and the story is behind us.

Now only eternity awaits – a ceaseless, endless journey into the mind of God and the Light of His glory, unwritten and ready for eternal exploration. Deborah is behind us; the Bible is done. The tree was called Allon Bachuth – the Oak of Weeping. This treasure, the glorious, marvelous gift from God, the Holy Bible, will be behind us and buried under the ancient tree of time. I will shed two tears that day.

The first will be a tear of sadness at the passing of one portion of our existence. The second will be for the joy of what lies ahead as we walk in the presence of God and in the splendor of His glory and that of the Lamb of God for all eternity. The Bible never says there will be no tears in heaven. It says He will wipe away all tears.

In the sermons ahead, more pictures are coming – more accounts of God’s love for the people of the world, but in the erecting and naming of this altar, we can look back on past history seeing all that has been accomplished and into the future with certainty about what lies ahead.

We can see the greatness of the plan God has laid out for His people – Jew and Gentile alike and we can hail Him for His marvelous deeds. Hallelujah! Mission Accomplished.

If you’ve never made a commitment to this wonderful God who has the entire span of eternity already settled in His mind, please let me explain to you what you need to know so that you too can walk on the eternal streets of gold…

Closing Verses (3): But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:16//“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. Revelation 21:3//How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103

Next Week: Genesis 35:9-15 (Israel’s Land Promise) (88th Genesis Sermon) Make sure to read and study those verses.

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you and He has a good plan and purpose for you. Call on Him and let Him do marvelous things for you and through you.

God of the House of God
(The Burial of Deborah)

Then God said to Jacob, with confirming nod
“Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there too
And make an altar there, make it to God
Yes to God who appeared to you

When you fled from the face of Esau your brother
From the face of him and not another

And Jacob said to his household, not just a few
And to all who were with him, all of those
“Put away the foreign gods that are among you
Purify yourselves, and change your clothe

Then let us arise and go up to Bethel
And I will make an altar there to God
Who answered in the day of my distress, so well
And has been with me in the way which I have trod

So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods acquired over the years
Which were in their hands
And the earrings which were in their ears
Idols procured from foreign peoples and foreign lands

And Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree there
Which was by Shechem, their power he did foreswear

And they journeyed, and the terror of God
Was upon the cities that were all around
And they did not pursue the sons of Jacob as he trod
On his journey to Bethel, to that sacred spot of ground

So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel)
Which is in the land of Canaan
He and all the people who were with him as well
They arrived at the place to which they had been aimin’

And he built an altar there
And called the place El Bethel
Because there God appeared to him
When from his brother he fled like a gazell

Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse died
And she was buried below Bethel
Under the terebinth tree, her graveside
So it was named Allon Bachuth, as the account does tell

The ordinary life of a man chosen by God
Has been used to tell us of glories ahead
And of wonders in which we gaze upon, awed
Stories of Jesus, our God, our King, our Head

At the fall of man in the Garden of Eden and all ages ahead
The plan has been known to our glorious Lord
In another garden we were restored when Jesus bled
The story is told to us in His precious word

It reveals heavens riches awaiting each of us
Who put our trust in God’s glorious provision
Trusting alone in the work of Jesus
Will carry us to the place of the beatific vision

And so to our King we sing Hallelujah and praise
As we live out our lives for Him all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

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