“And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.
Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments:
And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.” (Genesis 35:1-3)
God had told Jacob to go up to Bethel and make an altar there. In Old Testament times, two purposes of altars were a) to offer sacrifices and b) to burn incense. Sacrifices were offered for sins: “…it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” (Leviticus 17:11) Incense was a representation of prayer: “Let my prayer be set before thee as incense;” (Psalm 141:2)
Jesus’ death paid the true atonement price for our sins: “…we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Romans 5:11) We can also pray any time: “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” (Psalm 55:17) so Christians do not need to build altars or offer sacrifices or incense.
Yet we do need to take inventory of our lives and see if things are not there that should be, or things are there that should not be. It is easy in life for Bible reading, prayer, church, and service to slip out and bad influences to slip in. That apparently happened with Jacob’s family because they had picked up strange gods. Obviously they had not learned about strange gods from him.
Jacob also was the spiritual leader in his family. He obeyed God and he told his family to clean up the bad behaviors, because they were going up to Bethel with him. If you are the man of the house, you need to be the leader, bringing up your kids “…in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4) Your kids need to see by how you live that reading God’s Word, prayer, church attendance, and serving the Lord are important.
If you are a single lady who is head of the house, the story of Lydia can encourage you. Lydia was a businesswoman, “…a seller of purple,…whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.” (Acts 16:14) Lydia heard Paul preach and received Jesus as Saviour. She told the people in her house. They also received Jesus and “…she was baptized, and her household,” (Acts 16:15) She was head of the house and the spiritual leader.
Spiritual leadership is not always easy, especially when the circumstances in your life are challenging. Yet if God gives a command, He also gives strength and grace to obey it. Most importantly, if you want to see how to have your sins forgiven and get to heaven, please go to www.clevelandbaptist.org, click “Helpful Links,” then “How Do I Go to Heaven?”
Brian Miller 10/18/2022
Cleveland Baptist Church 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 216/671-2822