Going back is not always a backward move. It is often useful to pray, “Take me back, Dear Lord, to the place where I first met/ believed you,” as this can help us clarify perspectives, and if necessary, start all over again.

With so much having gone wrong, even amidst increasing material prosperity, Jacob needed to get back to base, back to the place where he had met God during his flight from Esau.

So he obeyed the Lord’s directive and went back to Bethel (House of God as he had named Luz). There he resolved to get it right. So he instructed his household: “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, and purify yourselves, and change your clothes; then come, let us go up to Bethel, that I may make an altar there to the God who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.”

Jacob hid the ‘bad goods’ under the oak at Shechem. I often wonder why he didn’t just destroy all the stuff that had the propensity to lead them astray. Who knows? They may have been tempted later on and return to bad habits!

Having, by grace, journeyed safely through stranger territory, Jacob arrived back at Luz (Bethel) where God had revealed God’s self to him. There he built an altar- place and symbol of worship of God. and God blessed him, renewing the divine promise.

“I am God Almighty:[c] be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall spring from you. 12 The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you.”

Jacob had, indeed, gone back to base to set things right.

  1. for a closer walk with God,
    A calm and heavenly frame,
    A light to shine upon the road
    That leads me to the Lamb.
  2. Where is the blessedness I knew
    When first I saw the Lord?
    Where is that soul-refreshing view
    Of Jesus and his Word?

 

  1. What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!
    How sweet their memory still!
    But they have left an aching void
    The world can never fill.
  2. Return, O holy Dove! return,
    Sweet messenger of rest!
    I hate the sins that made thee mourn,
    And drove thee from my breast.

 

  1. The dearest idol I have known,
    Whatever that idol be,
    Help me to tear it from thy throne,
    And worship only thee.
  2. So shall my walk be close with God,
    Calm and serene my frame;
    So purer light shall mark the road
    That leads me to the Lamb.

 

William Cowper, 1731-1800

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