35 God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel, and settle there. Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” 2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, and purify yourselves, and change your clothes; 3 then come, let us go up to Bethel, that I may make an altar there to the God who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” 4 So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods that they had and the rings that were in their ears, and Jacob hid them under the oak that was near Shechem.
5 As they journeyed, a terror from God fell upon the cities all around them, so that no one pursued them. 6 Jacob came to Luz, that is, Bethel, which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him, 7 and there he built an altar and called the place El-bethel,[a] because it was there that God had revealed himself to him when he fled from his brother. 8 And Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died, and she was buried under an oak below Bethel. So it was called Allon-bacuth.[b]
9 God appeared to Jacob again when he came from Paddan-aram, and he blessed him. 10 God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; no longer shall you be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.” So he was called Israel. 11 God said to him, “I am God Almighty:[c] be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall spring from you. 12 The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you.” 13 Then God went up from him at the place where he had spoken with him. 14 Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he had spoken with him, a pillar of stone, and he poured out a drink offering on it and poured oil on it. 15 So Jacob called the place where God had spoken with him Bethel.
I would like to spend time today at Beth-El (the House of God.) Speak to me in this place, God Almighty, in words that I might hear. Remind me that you call me by name. (And I thank you.) Remind me that you have given me a land in which to live. (And I thank you.) Remind me that you promise also to be the God of my children and their children. (And I thank you.) Remind me that all that you require of me is a thankful and obedient heart. Thank you, God, for your gracious, life-giving presence. And now, help me to live the lessons of Israel’s story as I become a more forgiving and faithful person, showing your grace in my words and deeds. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.