Genesis 35:7: and there he built an altar and called the place El-bethel, because there God had revealed himself to him when he fled from his brother.
He earlier named a place Bethel, which means house of God, and now after many years in his uncle Laban’s house, he has come back to the same place (Genesis 28:12-22).
While the house of God is a physical location in the Old Testament, it is a spiritual building in the New Testament (Ephesians 2:22). The God of the house of God as God’s name is a statement of God’s commitment to his house, which bears his name.
We are in a spiritual sense the house of God (1Peter 2:5) and we have been told: let those who name the name of the Lord depart from iniquity (2Timothy 2:19). Jacob told his family to remove all the idols from their midst, before coming. It is the house of God, and he is a jealous God (Deuteronomy 6:14-15).
John wrote: little children beware of idols (1John 5:21). Idols are things that control our time emotions and commitment other than God. They seek to draw fear from us and not righteousness.
The focus verse is also about prayer, as Jacob set up an altar in Bethel, to seek connection with God in the house of God. They have to do without the idols to be able to seek God with clean hands (James 4:8). Jacob recognised that he cannot do things alone and he sought God’s help in his house, building an altar.
At the time he was asked to go back to Bethel, his two sons had killed some people in a town and he was afraid of reprisal attacks. Going back to Bethel helped him to remember what God said to him before many years before, his commitment to him, that he will be with him till the divine will for him would be achieved, so he should not be afraid.
At that time, he needed God’s help so he went to him. Jabez similarly called upon God when his situation was difficult. He did not want the wrong thing to go on forever in his life. He refused to shut his mouth up but looked to God for help because there is no help in any other.
Help from God can come in different ways:
Help to see
The bible says that the seeing eyes is from God (Proverbs 20:12). Elisha prayed for his servant so that he may see into the invisible realm (2Kings 6:15-21). The situation was dire as far as the servant was concerned because there was a huge number of soldiers from an hostile army around ready to pounce on Elisha.
While Elisha did not drop a sweat, his servant was panic-stricken. So Elisha sought God’s help to see as he should. And when he did, he was radically changed. He saw God’s angelic army surrounding Elisha and he became peaceful.
That definitely is a work of the prophet. It is not just to see things for people but to help them to see as they should so they enter into God’s peace, into God’s best for them.
Paul prayed that the eyes of our understanding should be enlightened (Ephesians 1:15-18). That means he wants God to help people to see. Jesus told the Samaritan women he spoke with that if she knew the gift of God and who it is who is speaking to her (Jesus), she would ask and would be given living water, the kind of water that will be in her a well of water springing up to eternal life and he would not need not thirst anymore (John 4:1-30). The key to her peace therefore is seeing Jesus for who he is- giver of life.
When we see correctly then we judge correctly. Of Jesus it was said that he will not judge by the hearing of the ears or by the seeing of the eyes, but judge righteous judgment (Isaiah 11:1-4). That is why he has been given the spirit of wisdom and knowledge, the spirit of counsel. When we see correctly we will live correctly.
Paul said that we need to be renewed in the spirit of mind (Ephesians 4:23). He also said that we should be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Roman 12:1-3). Real transformation is linked to transformed perspective.
Help to have
The bible say that it is God who gives us the power to get wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18). When the children of Israel came from land of bondage, God asked them to ask for gold and other precious things from the Egyptians. The Egyptians were not the most generous people on earth but the Israelites were able to get many things from them, because they moved by divine command when they asked and they experienced favour (Exodus 12:35-36).
In the wilderness while the hundreds of thousands of them were making a journey, all were sustained with manna from heaven and water from a rock which followed them (Deuteronomy 8:3, 1Corinthians 10:4), and healing for their body.
Paul wrote to the Philippians that God will supply all their needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). It was as simple as that, they will receive help for supply as a manifestation of the glory of God in their life. The whole bible is the story of how God meets the needs of the people and yours will not be an exception. Jesus said we should not worry because since God takes care of the birds of the air, he will take care of us (Matthew 6:25-27).
Help to be
Jesus told Peter: follow me and I will make you fisher of men (Mark 1:17). He was going to help him to be all he should be. Paul said that he travailed in for the prayed for the church in Colossians that they may be filled with the knowledge of the will of God, pleasing him in all things (Colossians 1:9-10). For the Galatian he said that he travailed for them so that they Christ will be formed in them (Galatians 4:19). Epaphras prayed for the Colossians church that they may be complete in all the will of God (Colossians 4:12).
Help to do
The bible says that it is not by power nor might but by the Spirit of the Lord (Zechariah 4:6). Those were the words of God to Zerubbabel when he was embarking on the building of the temple, amidst severe persecution, so he had to be divinely powered to achieve it.
The Lord is the one who is at work in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). The disciples were empowered by the Holy Spirit they are able to leap over the opposition and set Jerusalem on the fire of the Holy Spirit.
David listed a number of things that the lord helped him to do. He said: with God I leaped over a wall and ran through a troop (Psalm 18). And he also said that his hand has been trained so that it breaks a bow of steel. How amazing!
The power of God in Samson helped him to do amazing things. With the jaw bone of an ass he killed a thousand (Judges 15:15-16). He carried off the gate of a city as if it was nothing, he caught 300 foxes and tied them together two by two setting their tails on fire (Judges 15:4). He tore off the jaw of a lion without as much as a scratch on him (Judges 14:5-6).
David was a man who was able to kill Goliath though everything visible showed he was at a disadvantage He was younger, shorter, less experienced on the warfront was a strong place. But it does not matter what is the disadvantage, God is the overwhelming advantage.
God had enabled him to kill a lion and bear. And he said that the God who was with him when he killed them, will also be with him to destroy Goliath. And he received help to do that. So would you.
- Meanwhile Praying For Us: Colossians 4:3-4 (bridgetwillard.wordpress.com)
- The specific will of God for you (Part 1) (disciplesofhope.wordpress.com)
- Knowing Christ (soulbrothernumber2.wordpress.com)
- The Quality Decision (jtgn.wordpress.com)
- Only One God (miepost.com)
- Jesus Is in Every Book of the Bible! (whatshotn.wordpress.com)