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Today's Journal

BETHEL

In the night I heard: ‘We are Bethel, you are Bethel, that is who we are.’

Bethel is a town about twelve miles from Jerusalem. It has a varied history of inhabitants in the Bible. The part I remember most was when Abraham entered the land of Canaan and the Lord promised ‘to give him and his descendants the land’ while at Bethel. Abraham built an altar where the Lord appeared to him (Genesis 12:6-8). It is the same place where Jacob had his ladder dream and the Lord promised him the same inheritance as Abraham. “Jacob awoke out of his sleep, and he said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”
So Jacob rose up early in the morning and took the stone that he had put under his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. He called the name of that place Bethel, but previously the name of the city was called Luz.” (Genesis 28:14-17)

Bethel means ‘the house of God.’ This was an important place where the Lord had chosen to meet several important people. As often happens it is also where an evil invader came upon ‘the house of God.’
Jeroboam a wily politician assumed power in Israel upon the death of Solomon and lead the people into deep idolatry and promoted his own priesthood (non-Levitical) to minister to the two golden calves he had made, one placed in Bethel and one in Dan. He was a smart evil king. A commentator says, “Jeroboam sacrificed the higher interests of religion to politics. This was the "sin of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, wherewith he made Israel to sin" (1Ki 12:30; 16:26).”
(International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)
We are now Bethel… the house of God. His people are his temple. This is who we are. Beware of the Jeroboams that might appear in the house of God.

“My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” Jesus

 

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