I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar and made a solemn vow to Me. Now get up and leave this land at once, and return to your native land.'"
I. The PROMISE TO GUIDE, protect, and bless fulfilled in connection with the employment of ordinary faculties and instrumentalities. Jacob's craft partly natural, but in this instance specially assisted that he might be helped in an emergency. The "supplanter" in this case represented the better cause.
II. HUMAN DEVICES only apparently, and not really, thwart the purposes of God. Jacob represents the people of God. The victory is appointed them. Their interests must be served by the kingdoms of this world, though for a season the advantage appears on the side of the mere calculating, selfish policy. The true wisdom is that which cometh from above.
III. INCREASE in the best sense is God's promise. It will be sent as he wills and when he wills, but will be found the true answer to prayer and the true manifestation of love. On all that belongs to us the blessing rests. Spiritual prosperity carries with it all other. Though the individual may be called to suffer for the sake of the community, the promise to the Church must be fulfilled. "It is our Father's good pleasure to give us the kingdom." "The meek shall inherit the earth." - R.
I am the God of Bethel.I. THE GOD OF BETHED IS A GOD OF PROVIDENCE, of a special gracious Providence towards His people; and of this as exercised through a Mediator, by the ministry of angels.
1. He is the God of Providence, extending to all the creatures He has made. God did not make the world, and then leave it, confining Himself to heaven, as some would have Him. Though His throne be above, His kingdom ruleth over all. He is no unconcerned spectator of what is done; but like a skilful pilot sits at the helm, and steers the world to what course it shall move. His providence is often mysterious, but nevertheless real and universal.
2. God exercises a special gracious providence about His servants. God has a regard to all the works of His hands; but it is spoken with an emphasis, "Behold the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy." Upon every one of this number His eye is fixed with satisfaction and delight.
3. God employs His angels as the ministers of His providence in the world, particularly as to His people. Not that God needs the agency of any of His creatures, but for the honour of His majesty He is pleased to use them.
II. THE GOD OF BETHEL IS THE GOD OF PROMISE. And as it is here declared by Himself, I am the God of Bethel, it plainly denotes —
1. That He takes delight in the promises He hath made to His people, and the covenant engagements in which He stands to them.
2. These words, "I am the God of Bethel," being spoken twenty years after the promises and appearances there, were first made, God intimated by them, that He was the same now as heretofore; as able to guide and guard, as formerly.
3. God proclaims this to tell His servant that all the mercies he enjoyed came from His hand and love, as his God in covenant; and that under this notion, he was still to look to Him for all he should further need.
III. At Bethel Jacob vowed a vow, which was in confirmation of his covenant with God: and so God's styling Himself the God of Bethel denotes in general that HE TAKES SPECIAL NOTICE OF THE SOLEMN TRANSACTIONS OF HIS SERVANTS, what promises and vows they make to Him and where. Particularly He is the God of Bethel, i.e., of His house, of every place appointed for His worship, as observing who there vow and dedicate themselves to Him, and who do not; in what manner any vow unto Him, whether in truth and with the heart, or deceitfully and with guile. God cannot be ignorant of what is done, and where; but He would be considered as particularly observing what passes at Bethel, i.e., in His hoarse, and at His table there, now under these New Testament ages.
1. God takes notice who tarries away from His house that ought to be there; and He takes notice too, in what dress every individual comes thither.
2. God is the God of Bethel, as approving His people's dedicating themselves by vow, in confirmation of their covenant to Him. This is their reasonable service, and what His promises and grace should readily lead them to.
3. God is the God of Bethel, as He is ready to reward His servants who make conscience of keeping their engagements, and walk in a sense of the vows of God upon their souls.
IV. And now as THE USE of all.
1. How desirable is a special relation to the God of Bethel, as the God of Providence, and of this as in a peculiar manner exercised about His people.
2. As the God of Bethel is ever mindful of His promises, His people can never want encouragement to come to His throne of grace.
3. Does God style Himself the God of Bethel, as denoting His strict observance of what passes in His house? What seriousness becomes us in all religious duties and services, or when, in a way of worship, we have to do with God?
4. Is the God of Bethel to be conceived of, as a witness to all our solemn transactions and engagements? how great must be the sin and folly of being formal and insincere in vowing to the Lord, or in pretending, either to enter into or confirm our covenant with Him, when leaving our hearts behind?
5. Does God as the God of Bethel remember the vows there made, with what confusion will they appear before Him who have omitted to perform their promises?
2. God is the God of Bethel to His Jacobs, of sweet providences and precious promises to His saints.
3. God's providence and promise may justly cause souls to dedicate and vow themselves to Him.
4. Souls devoting of themselves to God, engageth them to follow Him at this call.
5. God is forced to put His saints in mind of their engagement sometimes before they think of it
6. God's call alone is the just ground of the egress and regress of His servants, for blessing, and with
7. God will surely call in His set time to His saints for their returning to the place of rest.
8. Preparation and execution to go where God calleth, is due from saints to the call of God (ver. 13).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)I. Does not that mean, first, that our God is the God of our early mercies 2 Bethel was to Jacob the place of early mercy. Let us look back upon our early mercies. Did they not come to us, as they did to him, unsought and unexpected, and when, perhaps, we were unprepared for them?
II. Does it not mean, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ? What is "Beth-el" but "the house of God." And the house of God, the true Bethel, is the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, for "In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."
III. Still further let us remember that this God of Bethel is the God of angels. We do not often say much about those mysterious beings, for it is but little that we know of them. This, however, we know — that angels are set by God to be the watchers over His people. We shall not come to harm if we put our trust in God. "I will lay me down to sleep, for Thou makest me to dwell in safety." These angels were also messengers. "Are they not all ministering spirits? " and are they not sent with messages from God? Moreover, they are our protectors. God employs them to bear us up in their hands, lest at any time we dash our foot against a stone. We do not see them, but unseen agencies are probably the strongest agencies in the world.
IV. Notice, once more, that the God of Bethel is the God of our vows.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
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