“Then God said to Jacob, ‘Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.’2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, ‘Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. 3 Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.’ 4 So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the oak at Shechem. 5 Then they set out, and the terror of God fell on the towns all around them so that no one pursued them.6 Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan.”NIV
‘’Go up to Bethel…’’ (1,3,7)
For all of us, there are times when we need to go back in order to go forward. We have to return to times and places where God met us personally and powerfully. We may do this in memory. Or maybe it is by diary. For years I have kept a diary/journal. One year later, I try to, week by week, review what was happening, what I was experiencing, what I was reading or writing, ‘this time last year’. Mostly it’s mundane. But more often than you might imagine, I find myself going ‘’up to Bethel’’. Something previously recorded impacts me now. I re-live a meeting with God and its implications.
We may return to ‘Bethel’ by memory, diary, or even by geography. For some people, a kind of pilgrimage to a particular place becomes important. I knew a dear, godly, elderly gentleman, who, as a special anniversary of his conversion approached, said, ‘I would like to go and just sit in the little chapel where I was converted and give thanks to the Lord for saving and keeping me all through the years.’ How God worked that out for him is a remarkable story in itself. Suffice it to say for now that it didn’t seem likely to happen.
Today, I need to remember the little boy of 7/8 years, sitting on his bed and just feeling the intense joy and reality of Jesus. I still am that little boy before God. The passing years, and the burdens we carry can swamp us, and cause us to forget the sheer joy and wonder of knowing God.
What do you need to remember?