Even though a young girl, I still remember vividly many details from the time I asked Jesus into my heart. I see me sitting in the backseat of the blue four-door in the night before asking question after question. I remember sitting in the front row at revival services that next night then kneeling down at the altar and feeling the touch of Jesus. Decades have passed and the words have faded but my heart remembers and is thankful God for that revival, for parents who taught me, and for the Spirit at work through our evangelist, Bro. Carol Yarborough. For me, that little white church just outside of Dixon was my Bethel.
Jacob had through deceit stolen his older brother’s birthright and blessing so his mother feared for his life. Her next plan was to send her favored son back to her brother’s family to find a wife. As he traveled, Jacob came to an area to bed down and selected a stone for a pillow. As he slept, God appeared to him in a dream and for the first time confirmed the Abrahamic covenant (descendants as numerous as dust, the possession of the land, and the blessings of all peoples through him). During the dream, Jacob saw a stairway from earth to heaven with angels ascending and descending on it. As the dream faded, Jacob awoke in awe for he knew God had come to him. He set up his stone pillow, poured oil on it, and called the place Bethel, “house of God”. Jacob made a vow to God- if God would go with him on his journey, provide his needs, and take him back home safely, he would follow God and give a tenth of all he had.
Growing up as the son of Isaac and the grandson of Abraham, Jacob had been taught about God. He knew the facts but he didn’t personally know Him until Bethel. Knowing of and about God is good but not enough as we must come to know God on a personal level. Through the years to come, Jacob would walk straight at times but would also stray here and there. Ahead we will see Jacob return physically to Bethel to reconnect and refresh his soul.
Over the years, I’ve returned to my Bethel several times… sometimes in my memories and sometimes by a visit. Returning to Bethel reminds me that God called me out to be his child, that he is worthy, and that he is God as I feel his presence overwhelm me.
I’m curious… do you have a Bethel? A place or time you truly connected with God for the first time as he called our your name? If not, could today and the place where you stand right now become your Bethel? I pray it is so. If you have a Bethel, how about a visit back in to the time when your heart first opened to Christ? A trip down memory lane may be just what you need to refresh you for a new day.
Lord, thank you for my Bethel. My heart overflows with gratitude and love for what you did in that little girl’s heart way back in 1977 and for every blessing, correction, and guiding hand since. Blessed! Amen!