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Saturday, January 28, 2023
Bible Meditation: 
Genesis 35: 1-15

Then GOD SAID to JACOB, “ARISE, GO UP to BETHEL and dwell there; and make an altar there to God…Genesis 35:1a

GOD restored Jacob to Bethel by His WORD of REVIVAL: “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. 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. Then 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 in the way which I have gone(Gen.35:1-3). Subsumed in God’s Command to Jacob are vital steps for personal and collective revival.

Jacob obeyed God’s command to ascend to Bethel (v.1). He purged his household of idols and built an altar in fulfilment of his vow (vv.2-7). Then, God appeared to Jacob and renewed the Abrahamic Covenant (vv.9-13). Jacob then rededicated the stone pillar and renewed the name of Bethel (vv.14-15). He had previously visited Luz on his first journey ever. Genesis 28: 13-22 describes how God revealed Himself to Jacob in the dream of a ladder connecting heaven, reaffirmed the Covenant to him, as He had done to Abraham and Isaac, promised to protect and provide for, and bring him back to the land. Jacob called Luz “Bethel” – “the House of God,” and made a vow that the Lord would be his God; the anointed stone would be God’s House; and promised to tithe to God (Gen.28: 18-22).

Genesis 35 was thirty years later. Jacob had returned to the Land of Canaan. He and his brother Esau had made peace. But he built a house in Succoth, only thirty miles away from Bethel, and formed alliances in Shechem with the Canaanites (Gen.33:17-20). He and his household needed revival! God’s Command for Revival comprised three parts: A process – Arise, go up”; a place – “Bethel”; and a practice – “Dwell there; and make an altar there to God.” The first step in revival is to obey God based on awareness of the need to “arise” and “go up.” God made Jacob aware of his urgent need for change: To return to where He revealed His House to Jacob; where he made his vows to the Lord.

To experience revival, we must remember and return to Bethel, where God dwells – the Temple of God. First and foremost, Jesus Christ, God in the Flesh, is the Temple of God: “In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge…For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col.2:3.9). In another sense, the saints are “the temple of God” by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (1Cor.3:16; 6:19). Bethel also signifies the Body of Christ, into which we have been baptised (2Cor.6:16; Eph.5:30; 1Tim.3:15). Revival comes when we know that God dwells in us as saints – individual believers, and collectively in the House of God, the Body of Christ.

God told Jacob to “dwell there” or abide. This speaks of being positioned to practise God’s Presence: In attitude, actions, and lifestyle. “Abide” means to walk by faith, proven by works (Jam.2:14-26); to walk, live, and be led by the Holy Spirit (Gal.5:16,18,25); to know that we’re living in Christ and Christ lives in us (Gal.2:20; Rom.5:10,17). No abiding; no revival or fruitfulness (Jh.15:1-12).

Then, God told Jacob to “make there an altar”! This points to the foundation of Salvation and Worship. In the Old Testament, the “altar” was the place of offering sacrifices for sin; the innocent for the guilty, evoking Christ and His Atonement on the Cross for the sinner’s sin. He is the Sacrifice and Substitute for His People (Jh.1:29; Eph.1:7; Rom.3:24-25). He is also the Resurrection and the Life (Jh.11:25-26). Revival comes from knowing that we are in Christ, and have been redeemed, reconciled, and justified – declared righteous – by His Blood Atonement.

Beloved, like Jacob, we can remember our Redemption, Arise, and return to Bethel, positioned to dwell in God’s Presence perpetually.

Adetokunbo O. Ilesanmi (Meditations)

Lord, let Your WORD of REVIVAL inspire us to Arise, Ascend to Bethel, and Dwell in Your Presence all the days of our lives, in Jesus’ name.
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