We are not limited as to when or where we can call upon the Lord. But maybe you have a special, or should I say a sacred place where you meet with God. Jacob had such a place.
Now that Jacob had returned from Paddan-aram, God appeared to him again at Bethel. Genesis 35:9
This scripture verse says that God appeared to Jacob again. Genesis 28 records the first time he had an encounter with God. He had left home heading towards Paddan-aram to find a wife.
At sundown he arrived at a good place to set up camp and stopped there for the night. Jacob found a stone to rest his head against and lay down to sleep. Genesis 28:11
During the night he dreamed of a stairway reaching from the earth up to heaven. In his dream, he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway. Plus the Lord also spoke to him.
At the top of the stairway stood the Lord, and he said, “I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. Genesis 28:13
God Spoke to Jacob
The promises that God made to his grandfather and his father now rested on Jacob. Then the Lord outlined to him what those promises consisted of.
- The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants.
- Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth!
- They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south.
- And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.
- What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go.
- One day I will bring you back to this land.
- I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.” Genesis 28:13-15
When Jacob woke up He realized that this was a special place, a sacred place. We might have said something like, “Wow! God is in this place.” At least that’s how Jacob felt.
But he was also afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God, the very gateway to heaven!” Genesis 28:17
Jacob considered this place very sacred. The stone he rested his head on, he set upright and anointed it with olive oil as a memorial. Then he renamed the place.
He named that place Bethel (which means “house of God”), although it was previously called Luz. Genesis 28:19
That all happened as he traveled to Paddan-aram to stay with his uncle Laban. In chapter 35, Jacob had left Paddan-aram and God instructed him on where he should go.
God Sent Jacob Back to His Sacred Place
Then God said to Jacob, “Get ready and move to Bethel and settle there. Build an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother, Esau.” Genesis 35:1
Over twenty years had passed since Jacob had his encounter with the Lord at Bethel. Not only did Jacob consider it a sacred place but God recognized it as one also.
Jacob built an altar there and named the place El-bethel (which means “God of Bethel”), because God had appeared to him there when he was fleeing from his brother, Esau. Genesis 35:7
This time when the two of them met there, Jacob reestablished its name as Bethel. And God blessed Jacob and renamed him.
God blessed him, saying, “Your name is Jacob, but you will not be called Jacob any longer. From now on your name will be Israel.” So God renamed him Israel. Genesis 35:9-10
God could have spoken to Jacob anywhere and at any time. In fact, in verse 1, He told Jacob where to meet Him. God sent him to Bethel to tell him something very important.
So Jacob made his entire family get rid of all their pagan items and he buried them. Then before he went to his sacred place he told them to purify themselves and put on clean clothing.
We are now going to Bethel, where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in distress. He has been with me wherever I have gone.” Genesis 35:3
Do You Have a Sacred Place?
How about it, do you have a sacred place where you can meet with God? Sure, you can pray to Him anywhere and at any time. The Apostle Paul even told us that we should do that.
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Those instructions will help us get through each day. But every one of us needs a place where we can get alone with God.
One would think since I’m a pastor, my sacred place would be the church sanctuary. But it’s not. I’ve gone in there during the week to pray only to be met by too many distractions.
The chairs are out of line, there’s paper on the floor, or something else is out of place. Or I’m reminded of other things that need my attention.
No, my Bethel, my sacred place is at home out on the deck. Even though we live in the middle of a neighborhood, the trees around the yard shield any distractions.
We put a roof over part of it so I can be out there rain or shine. Someone once said that I could put a TV out there. I told them, no way, I don’t want any distractions, especially that type.
In fact, right now I am writing this devotion at my sacred place. Do you have a special place where you and God can meet?
Where Do You Get Alone With God?
One person said he goes to sit on a big rock in the woods behind his house. Another one made a closet into her prayer room. If you don’t have a place where you can meet with God, get one.
There is something about that special place where we go out of our way and away from all distractions. It’s a sacred place where it’s just you and God.
Lord, help us to get or get back to having a sacred place. A place where we meet with you and you meet with us.
Check out some other posts out of the Book of Genesis.
- How To Trust God When You’ve Had More Than Enough
- How Easily We Get Stuck In A Detour In Life
- Put your trust in the Lord
- And The Two Shall Become One Flesh
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