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Genesis 35:1 & meaning...


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

Genesis 35:1


Genesis 35 [1.] God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel, and live there. Make there an altar to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.”

Genesis 35 [2.] Then Jacob said to his household, and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, change your garments. Let us arise, and go up to Bethel. I will make there an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me on the way which I went.”


In this verse, we see God speaking directly to Jacob, instructing him to return to Bethel, a place of spiritual significance in his life. Bethel, which means "house of God," was where Jacob had encountered God in a powerful way many years earlier, as recorded in Genesis 28:10-22. It was there that God had appeared to him in a dream, reaffirming the covenant promises made to Abraham and Isaac and promising His presence and protection.

The command to return to Bethel carries deep spiritual significance for Jacob. It represents a call to renewal, repentance, and recommitment to God. By returning to the place where he had first encountered God, Jacob is invited to remember God's faithfulness and to renew his covenant relationship with Him.

Moreover, God instructs Jacob to "make there an altar to God," emphasizing the importance of worship and sacrifice in Jacob's spiritual journey. The altar was a place of encounter with God, where offerings were made as a symbol of worship, thanksgiving, and dedication. By building an altar in Bethel, Jacob would publicly acknowledge God's sovereignty and lordship over his life and family.

The significance of Genesis 35:1 extends beyond Jacob's personal journey to encompass the broader theme of God's faithfulness to His promises. Throughout Jacob's life, God had remained faithful to the covenant He had made with Abraham and Isaac, despite Jacob's shortcomings and failures. By calling Jacob back to Bethel, God reaffirms His commitment to Jacob and his descendants, promising to be with them and bless them as they continue to walk in obedience to Him.

As we reflect on Genesis 35:1, we are reminded of the importance of returning to our spiritual roots and renewing our commitment to God. Like Jacob, we may face seasons of wandering and spiritual dryness in our journey of faith. In those times, God calls us to return to Him, to remember His faithfulness, and to recommit ourselves to a life of worship, obedience, and devotion.

Furthermore, Genesis 35:1 challenges us to build altars in our own lives—symbols of our devotion to God and reminders of His faithfulness. These altars may take various forms, such as times of prayer, worship, and service, as well as acts of sacrificial love and obedience. Whatever form they may take, may they serve as tangible expressions of our commitment to God and our desire to honor Him in all areas of our lives.

As we heed God's call to return to Bethel, may we encounter His presence afresh, experience His renewing grace, and be empowered to walk faithfully in His ways, just as Jacob did so many years ago.

PIB Scriptures are derived from the World English Bible


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