Jacob's Spiritual Renewal at Bethel

35: 1-15

After his mountaintop experience at Peniel, Jacob had inexplicably fallen away from God. Instead of immediately returning to Bethel, he had lingered at the city of Shechem. His grandfather Abraham had also been disobedient. He stayed in Hebron when he should have gone on to the Promised Land (11:31b). Then he went to Egypt when he should have stayed in Palestine. Jacob would go to Bethel, but only after God had commanded him to go (35:1).

Ya’akov was in the world (First John 2:15-17) and the time spent in Shechem was disastrous. It revealed a spiritual vacuum in the hearts of his family.531 The only cure for worldliness is holiness . . . to be set apart. As for Jacob, he needed to be alone again with Elohim and be spiritually renewed. So God commanded him to go to Bethel. It was there, twenty years previous (31:38), that Ya’akov first met the LORD and agreed to walk with Him. While there was no mention of God’s name in Chapter 34, here in Chapter 35 His name is mentioned twelve times.

God’s patient work in Jacob’s life offers a lesson as we learn how the LORD can bring us each along step by step in the process of spiritual maturity. We may look at where we are in our spiritual walk and feel as if we haven’t gotten anywhere. We can feel overwhelmed by our failures and our inability to master life with Yeshua. Those are the times when we need to pause and look back so that we can gain an appreciation of how far ADONAI has brought us. As is clearly seen by His dealings with Ya’akov, God does not demand instant perfection, but He leads us little by little, making inroads into our self-centeredness and doing His work in our lives one step at a time.532


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