“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. 7 There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel,because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.8 Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died and was buried under the oak outside Bethel. So it was named Allon Bakuth.” NIV
‘’…God, who answered me in the day of my distress…’’ (3)
I’m sure you have noticed that we have only moved one square on the board from the past couple of days. But verse 8 introduces a new theme – that of bereavement. Before this chapter is over, Jacob will have experienced three significant losses.
Note: getting right with God; sorting things out at home; taking care of spiritual business, is not necessarily a route into an easy life. The hymn-writer could say, ‘Days of darkness still come o’er me, sorrows path I often tread…’ I began to read the book of Job this morning in my daily Bible readings. Although not every believer will suffer as intensely as Job, or lose so much, some certainly do. What we can say with full Biblical authority is this: being a believer does not grant you immunity from suffering and loss.
In days of darkness, however:
…we can remember how God answered prayer in past difficulties (3) – how He has never abandoned us;
…we should seek to hold on to everything God has ‘’revealed’’ of Himself to us in times gone by (verses 1,7). Someone said, ‘Never doubt in the dark what God has shown you in the daylight.’
‘Days of darkness still come o’er me, sorrows paths I often tread, but the Saviour still is with me, by His Hand I’m safely led’’.
PRAYER: Thank you Lord that you will be with us wherever we go (3).