Return to Bethel

Read This Week: Genesis 35

So Jacob said to his household and all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. 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.” – Genesis 35:2-3 NIV

In Genesis 35, we witness another crucial moment in a long line of pivotal moments in the life of Jacob, the patriarch of the Israelites. This passage unveils a journey of spiritual renewal, reconciliation, and divine promises. At its heart lies the significance of Bethel, where Jacob encounters God and reaffirms his commitment to His covenant. This narrative, like so many others, can inform our lives, help us glean insights into our walk with God, and give us wisdom for our spiritual journeys. It can help us understand the significance of our own symbolic return to Bethel.

Before diving in, it’s essential to grasp the preceding events. We’ve seen how both triumphs and trials have marked Jacob’s life. He’s encountered divine promises, wrestled with angels, and endured familial strife. Amidst this tumultuous path, his relationship with God has evolved, culminating in his encounter at Bethel. This section begins with God instructing Jacob to return to Bethel, where God initially appeared to him (Genesis 28:10-22). This command represents a call to spiritual renewal and reconciliation. It prompts Jacob to confront his past, both the blessings and the mistakes, and recommit to the covenant with God.

Upon receiving God’s directive, Jacob instructs his household to rid themselves of foreign gods and purify themselves. This act signifies a turning away from idolatry and a return to true worship of Yahweh. It’s a potent symbol of spiritual cleansing and reconciliation with the Lord and an ancient reminder to us that we should always be mindful of the things that hinder us from following Jesus.

As Jacob and his household journey to Bethel, God’s presence surrounds them, offering protection and assurance. There, Jacob builds an altar out of his devotion, and in response, God reaffirms his name change to Israel. This affirmation reiterates the promise not only to him but to his countless descendants. This moment resonates with profound spiritual truths that are applicable to our lives today. Just as Jacob was called to return to Bethel, we too are invited to revisit the places of our spiritual beginnings, to rekindle our relationship with God. Bethel represents a space of encounter, where we lay aside distractions and idols, purifying ourselves for divine communion.

Like Jacob, we’re called to undergo a process of purification and reconciliation, putting aside anything that hinders our relationship with God. It’s a journey of introspection, repentance, and surrender—a process toward renewed faith and intimacy with Christ. Bethel is a reminder of God’s faithfulness and the fulfillment of His promises. Just as God reaffirmed Jacob’s identity and inheritance, He assures us of our identity as His children and our inheritance in His kingdom through the cross. In moments of doubt or despair, we can look to Bethel as a testament to God’s enduring covenant, the new covenant of Jesus.

Genesis 35 invites us into the sacred narrative of Jacob’s return to Bethel, urging us to embrace our own spiritual renewal and reconciliation with ourselves and others. As we revisit the places of our spiritual beginnings, may we encounter the Lord in a fresh way, purifying ourselves and laying claim to His promises and the passion we once felt at the start of our life with God. A return to Bethel is always a worthwhile trip.


  1. Javaid Ahmed on March 13, 2024 at 12:35 pm

    God wanted me to focus on Genesis 35 verses 9-13

    9 After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram,[c] God appeared to him again and blessed him. 10 God said to him, “Your name is Jacob,[d] but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.[e]” So he named him Israel.

    11 And God said to him, “I am God Almighty[f]; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will be among your descendants. 12 The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.” 13 Then God went up from him at the place where he had talked with him.

    God said on this:

    “My son, when your heart is in the right place I will always give you chances to reconnect with Me and set on the right foot. Sometimes bringing things back to basics helps get the mind right, knowing that there’s a marvelous path ahead with Me.”

    Sometimes when we have blinders on we only see what the world has presented right in front of us, however when we connect with God he removes those blinders and let’s us see the opportunity surrounding us with Him, allowing us to be our best selves.

  2. Trina on March 16, 2024 at 7:45 am

    Genesis Chapter 35 Verse 5
    And they journeyed and a tear from God fell on the towns round about them, and they did not pursue the sons of Jacob.

    Genesis Chapter 35 Verse 9
    And God [in a distinctly visible manifestation] appeared to Jacob again when he came out of Padan-aram, and declared a blessing on him.

    Genesis Chapter 35 Verse 11
    And God said to him, I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you and kings shall be born of your stock;

    ~The Protection of God~

    God Is Saying To Me:
    My child, I love you so much that I want to protect you from all harm. You must trust me wholeheartedly! I am Father God, God Almighty! The treasures and desires of your heart belong to me. Place them on the altar you make to me each and every day. My heart is your heart, so go and represent me well.

    What This Means To Me:
    No matter how far we have strayed, God is calling! He has called us to represent Him well. He is our protector and teacher in all things. Just like He has called Jacob, he never gives up on us. He protects us from harm and continuously tugs at the heartstrings of our hope, graciously allowing us to find our way home, which leads back to him! Thank you God for being our almighty protector and Father! ❤️❤️❤️

  3. PK Chat on March 17, 2024 at 9:41 am

    Have you ever found yourself at a crossroads where moving forward meant taking a step back to where you last stood firm in the Lord’s presence? It’s a profound realization, especially when we acknowledge that we’ve wandered from the path our Father in Heaven has so carefully laid out for us. Too often, we make heartfelt promises to our Lord or sense Jesus calling us to a specific action, only to let these divine appointments slip through our fingers as we are swept up by life’s relentless tide.

    I’ve walked this path myself. There were times when the Lord beckoned me to stand still, yet I strayed, lured away by fleeting desires. There were moments when Jesus softly whispered for me to let go of harmful habits, yet I clung to them, convinced of my own way. This tendency to journey solo, ignoring the whispers of our Heavenly Father, not only misleads us but also stunts our spiritual growth. We find ourselves ensnared in a thicket of frustration, quick to point fingers at others, when, in truth, the pathway forward necessitates a return to where we veered off course, a return home to our Father.

    To truly advance in our relationship with the Lord, a return is imperative—to the promises we’ve allowed to fade, to the divine directives we’ve overlooked. This return isn’t merely a physical or emotional retracing of steps but a deep, spiritual reunion, a coming home to the heart of our faith.

    1. **The Imperative of Returning Home:** Often, the key to moving forward with the Lord is to revisit the place where we last felt His embrace, to return home to where our journey with Him was most alive. It is in this sacred act of returning that we find the strength to proceed, not alone, but in communion with Jesus.

    2. **Personal Accountability:** This journey of return and onward movement isn’t about uncovering flaws in others; it’s a deeply personal pilgrimage towards spiritual clarity and purification, a coming home to the truth within us. The disarray lies within us, in the promises we’ve let lapse and the instructions we’ve disregarded. Cleansing our hearts and minds is the foundational step toward reconciliation and progress.

    3. **Reconciliation as Worship:** When we reconcile with our Heavenly Father and with our brethren, we enter a true sanctuary of worship—a domain of liberty, growth, and spiritual emancipation. In this space, our burdens are lifted, and our paths realign with God’s will. It’s a divine paradox that by stepping back, by returning home, we propel forward, and by acknowledging where we’ve faltered, we discover a route marked by grace and spiritual enrichment.

    At its core, our spiritual journey with the Lord often demands that we revisit those decisions or moments we bypassed or neglected, a pivotal faith principle echoing the essence of returning home. To step back with the Lord is to leap forward with Him, guided by His unfailing love and mercy at every juncture, as we make our way back home to the heart of our Father.

  4. reachchurch on March 17, 2024 at 12:55 pm

    This Week in the Life: Genesis 35

    For the best experience, we suggest you listen to the first song, the message, and the second song.

    1. Sunday Worship – First Song:
    2. Sunday Message:
    3. Sunday Worship – Second Song:

    Join the Party Line Live – Schedule:

  5. Alma on March 17, 2024 at 3:44 pm

    This week in Genesis chapter 35 I got a song


    Let’s come together to worship our Lord let’s come together to worship our Lord, lifting our hands praising our king. We are blessed blessed because our Lord loves us, loves us. We are never alone he is always with us. Sometimes we astray or make different choices. Remember, all we have to do is get back on track. All we have to do is get back on track with our Lord. He loves when we do everything everything with him, we have a wonderful, father a wonderful, father, so let’s come together to worship our Lord worship our Lord. Amen.

    We are truly blessed because we never have to do things alone because we have Jesus Jesus thank you Lord, for always being there. Also thank you for waiting when we get off track. As christians we know we can get right back on track with you Lord. Amen.

  6. Heidi on March 18, 2024 at 9:50 am

    Genesis 35:1 Then God said to Jacob, “Go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you [in a distinct manifestation] when you fled [years ago] from Esau your brother.” ” 2 Then Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Get rid of the [idols and images of] foreign gods that are among you, and ceremonially purify yourselves and change [into fresh] clothes; 3 then let us get up and go up to Bethel, and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.”

    It’s all about Worship
    Worship is responding to God in many ways.
    I see Jacob finally responding to God.
    God had told him before to go back to Bethel and live there with his family.
    He didn’t listen, but finally he is listening.
    Father God allows us to go our own way until we realize that we need Him and that he is there with us.
    It’s a wonderful thing when we really realize that God is with us. God is always trying to get her attention and speaking to us. It’s our job to listen and respond so we don’t get ourselves into a mess. But I think God that he is always with us.

    God is saying
    I am always with you, I will never leave you. But it is up to you to realize I am with you and I never leave you. It’s up to you to talk to me and listen and I will always lead you in the right direction. My child I love you.

    That means to me it’s up to me every day to talk to father God read the Bible and listen to him all day long and it’s a blessing that I am his child and I get to have a father that loves me so much.
    Thank you, father God for your love, and that you’re always here for me ❤️

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