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November 20, 2017


The return to Bethel

by Alvaro Lima

Jacob faced many challenges in his life. He was a fugitive from his own home because his twin brother, Esau, wanted to kill him for having cheated him out of his inheritance. In addition, Jacob’s father in law, Laban, tricked him into marrying the wrong daughter and changed his wage multiple times in order to profit from God’s favour on all that Jacob did.

However, it wasn’t all bad; Jacob also conquered many things. In fact, he became exceedingly wealthy. Jacob had animals, servants, children, and wives, but despite this, he never overcame his fear and could not shake off the ‘deceiver’ title that seemed to follow him wherever he went, right up until that monumental moment at the Ford of Jabbok where he wrestled with God and prevailed (Genesis 32:22-32). There, he went from being Jacob to Israel.

There was another significant event in Jacob’s life which has huge significance in our lives today, but we don’t always pay close attention to it.

After these things,

God told Jacob: “Arise, go up to Bethel, dwell there, and there make an altar to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother” (Genesis 35.1).

However, what did going back to Bethel mean?

Bethel represented the starting point of Jacob’s walk with God: the place where he first built an altar and poured out his life. Bethel was the place where he assumed God’s Lordship over his life and finally put his trust in Him.

For us today, this means going back to the faith we had at the start of our walk with God, the faith that pleased Him.

“So 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 clothes” (Genesis 35:2).

What are the ‘foreign gods’ that may have creeped into your life? This represents things, people, and aspirations that you put above God. Maybe during your journey of faith, you began devoting a lot of attention to making money as well as your family, love life, and career – so much so that it has become a ‘god’.

Maybe, like Jacob, it’s time to return to your Bethel; it’s time to put away the foreign gods and purify yourself.

Do you remember when you first came to the UCKG, heard the word of God, used your faith, and saw the results? God wants you to remember that faith you once had and ask yourself: “Am I still of that same faith? Or did I allow the world’s pollution to contaminate it?”

Jacob showed God that he had not lost the initial faith; He set up a pillar in the place where He had spoken with him, a pillar of stone, and he poured out a drink offering on it, and he poured oil on it too (Genesis 35.14).

So, the question I ask you is: will you follow Jacob and return to Bethel?

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6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Toyin
    Nov 21 2017

    Thank you for sharing, Bishop.

    I agree that I cannot lose the faith that was burning in me when I first came to church, desperate for a change

    There is no other way I can please God than using my faith, stronger
    and stronger.

  2. Elsa Mendes
    Nov 21 2017

    Thank you for sharing this powerful message Bishop
    It’s true that with time we start losing the focus and we begin to prioritize work, family among other things that consequently make our faith weak and then problems and frustrations are inevitable.
    I can’t forget from where God rescue me I need to analyse myself and leave everything that is trying to damage my faith and prioritize my God. The most important thing in my life is the salvation of my soul and I need to be more alert to keep my salvation.
    I will return to Bethel.

  3. Linete Costa
    Nov 21 2017

    Thank you Bishop, this message make me think a lot and reminded me the first day I come to the church, how I was, the first words I heard. I didn’t knew nothing about the work of Uckg on that time I believed in every single word that was being preaching there and the day I went was on the campaign of Israel and I put all my strength as I know the Holy Spirit guided me to do it and I have seen great results in my life but for instance I started to stop acting the faith as I usually to do, starting see my life, family etc but God is given me a chance to come back to Bethel and I’m not gonna waist it and I know that as happen with Jacob it will happen with me and my faith will be stronger than before. God bless you.

  4. Maria Jimmy
    Nov 21 2017

    For me the message revealed how much God loves me. He has given me another opportunity to do a self check to see if there are any things that I am now putting first before Him.(foreign gods)Things that try to distance me from Him.

    He wants me to go back to my first love. I had to ask myself if I’m still using my faith like I used to when I first came to church or with time, am I now doing things mechanically?

    God wants me to go back to my first love in order for my garment to be pure…….That’s the only way for my relationship with Him to be renewed.

  5. Asha Anofienem
    Nov 21 2017

    I know that Iost definitely need to go bk to Bethel.

    I have grown in my faith indeed, but for me it is going back to start doing again the simplest of things to show God that He is still my first. For example; attending earlier services, just to come back in the day and assist in the later ones like before, when I was off from work. Not that I am sinning now; But the fire used to always burn with more tenacious intensity.

    This really reminded me of being if I can say; A freshman in the beginning journey of my faith with God.

    …That I really have to continue.

    Thank you Bishop.

  6. Hephzibah Oliver
    Nov 21 2017

    To read about Jacob’s return to Bethel in obedience to his God and setting up a pillar in the place where God spoke with him. Is an action transferable and worthy to emulate in my day.

    Today, God’s grace is extended to me as he speaks and reveals his direction once again.

    Indeed, Bishop its from Lord supper to Lord supper, sacrifice to sacrifice and faith to faith, daily to the end, showing Avi (father) l have not lost my initial faith.


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