Living in Beth-el.
In Genesis 12:1 God commanded Abram to leave Haran which was a stop in his journey to Canaan. This was a defining point In Abram's life.He was becoming more submissive to God. In like manner when we Christians become more surrendered with our call from God, it is inevitable we will become more obedient toward God. The two are synonymous with one another. The Bible says, "And hereby we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments." 1st John 2:3.
The call from God was vertical. That is, it came right down from heaven to Abram. The command was horizontal to leave Haran (he had to physically move from one place to another).God gave Abram 6 promises.
The 6 promises were given to Abram when he was still in Haran. Remember this place (Haran) represented incomplete obedience.Of course this place was not God's complete will for Abram's life.
God gave Abram the seventh promise when He reached Canaan in full obedience to finish what He had in mind for Abram and his descendants. It is of great comfort to me to know that my Savior Jesus Christ is perfect, precise in all His dealings with the universe and me. I believe the seventh promise represents or symbolizes our rapture into heaven. Canaan is a type of Paradise.
Genesis 12:1-3 is really written in the form of a cross. It starts out with the command of God (the vertical part of the cross) then the horizontal call and promises are given to Abram (the horizontal part of the cross).
" For such a high priest became us,who is harmless,undefiled,separate from sinners,and made higher than the heavens." Hebrews 7:26.Jesus Christ really does understand what we go through and it is comforting to know that according to the Bible we are not even suppose to carry our burdens. Our Savior took our place.
If we are too spiritual with not enough humanity in our ministry then the vertical part of the cross is represented but not the horizontal. If we have too much humanity and no devotion to God then only the horizontal part of the cross is represented.If we incorporate both into our lives then both the vertical and horizontal portions of the cross will be seen in our life.
Too much of one without the other will never work.The evidence is to be seen on the cross. Abram received a vertical command from God and then the focus was on the horizontal (His call and the promises that were given to Him).
This is a pivotal point to keep in mind. Abram departed in verse 4. He was drawn to obey God by faith.
Abram was drawn to pursue the will of God for his life. The Bible says in 1 John 4:10, "Herein is love,not that we loved God,but that He loved us,and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." Abram saw this love and was very convicted to go to Canaan.There was no hesitation.
Unless we see the love of God through His Son Jesus Christ we will not be led to do anything for God.The reason why he was drawn in his spirit is because the love of God was so compelling at this point. He would not have even dreamed of disobeying God.This had more to do with God working in Abram's life than him trying to accomplish this obedience on his own. In the book of Ephesians the Apostle Paul emphasizes what God did for us in the first three chapters, then he wrote about our responsibility to God.
Verse 5 speaks of their arrival in Canaan.Of course they only finally arrived in the promised land because of the grace of God. In like manner we will be raptured into heaven before His wrath because of this reason.
In verses 6 and 7 the Bible says Abram arrived in a place called Sichem. It is not until verse 7 that the Lord appeared to Abram and gave him the seventh promise. "Unto thy seed will I give this land." God did not give the 7th promise to Abram until he finally arrived in Canaan or the Promised Land.
No matter where we are spiritually, it should at the very least comfort us a little to know that God is in perfect control. Christians are about to go home with Jesus Christ to Paradise in the rapture.
As God was working in Abram's life, he felt compelled to make the initiative to worship his Savior.The evidence is in verse 8." And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent,having Beth-el on the west,and Hai on the east: and there he built an alter unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord."
Beth-el is a place noted in the Old Testament where the people of God met the Lord. This is the place where Jacob first became conscience of God. Jesus Christ even challenged him to go back because He desires us to be drawn to Him.
Our Savior challenged the church of Ephesus to do the same. The church of Ephesus at one point obviously had their personal Beth-el.They met with God regularly and felt His love; however,they lost it because the Bible says, "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee,because thou hast left thy first love." Revelation 2:4.
The reason why they left their first love can be found in the pattern and steps of the life of Abram. God sometimes allows heavy trials in our lives. In simple terms it is to refine our faith but it goes much deeper than sifting our spirit. When the church of Ephesus went through these same types of hardships, they forget about their personal Beth-el.They lost their first love.
In verse 8 Abram was driven to draw close to God; however,he had every reason to pursue this high calling at that point in his life. What happens when our life goes sour? I don't know where you are in life but God does desire us to go to Beth-el because that is where He will renew our spirit.
This is our challenge. The subject of Beth-el separates the two themes in Genesis Chapter 12. The first half of this chapter (God was at work in Abram and he stepped out in faith). The second half of the chapter (trouble).
Think about what this means for our lives. We can go forward in good times to Beth-el or we can go back in bad times to Beth-el. I am thoroughly convinced the choice is up to us. I believe we are just about to be raptured into heaven to meet Jesus Christ.
We should all have our personal beth-el on earth because this is where we meet Jesus Christ in an intimate way. Our blessed hope or rapture into heaven will be the beginning of a perfect relationship with Jesus Christ in His love for all eternity.
If any unbelievers are reading this article, it is my yearning that you will experience the grace of God here on earth and for all eternity. Make that all important decision to accept Jesus Christ into your heart today and yield to His love everyday. Allow Him to work through you by reading the Bible and praying. When we do this our heart becomes open and God is able to manifest His peace and joy in our spirit. This is our Beth-el before God.