DECEMBER 8: THE SECOND TIME AROUND

THE SECOND TIME AROUND
By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

"And God went up with him in the place where He talked with him. And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where He talked with him, even a pillar of stone; and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon. And Jacob called the name of the place where God spaoke with him, Bethel."
Genesis 35:13-15
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Today's Read: Genesis 35; Genesis 28; Philippians 1-2 
The second time around.
Bethel - House of God
This is Jacob's second "alter stop" at this particular place.
In order to appreciate the relevance of this site, return to the study on Day 2 and you will find yourself entering into this story with an entirely different mindset.
Back in Genesis 28, Jacob is on the run from Esau and "Bethel" becomes his first resting place and his first "altar call:"
The anointed stone pillow,
From which he received the dream of the angels ascending and descending on a ladder, and the place where God personally identified him as the next benefactor and recipient of the sure provisions and promises succeeding Abraham and his father Isaac.
In this place Jacob is enlisted among the "geneology greats" of God's elect.
In this place God answers Jacob's prayer.
"And Jacob vowed a vow saying, If God will be with me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house, and of all that Thou give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee."
Genesis 28:20-22
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One has to wonder at the emotions that must have coursed through Jacob upon his return to this site a second time.
So much had changed ... and yet one thing had not:
The absolute faithfulness of God and the veracity of His word remained utterly unchanged in Jacob's journey to Haran and back.
The bumps and the bruises,
The wanderings and the wonderings,
The fog and the fickleness,
The forgetfulness and the frailties that Jacob had experience along the way were all swept up and overshadowed by the prescribed provisions and promises of God and made manifest now in his "return" home.
Everything came to be ... as God said it would be.
God never left Jacob.
Not once.
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-In this place, the second time around, Jacob's second name is rehearsed by God and he is renamed "Israel."
-In this place, the second time around, Jacob is not traveling as a single man but leading an entourage of people now claimed as the "nation of Israel" by God.
-In this place, the second time around, God solidifies His sovereignty and His rule over the ways and minds of men securing "Israel" with the sure promises and provisions of His hand.
The second time around abounds with the theme of God's faithfulness to man, to a nation, and to you and me.
Stop and wonder at it.
Be moved and marvel at it.
The second time around is a revelations of God's faithfulness from the first go-around.
Paul's words here are impregnated with this truthful reality:
"Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."
Philippians 1:6
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Small wonder that cleansing occurs in the camp at this point as Jacob stops one more time, on this journey home, to do business with God.
The strange gods are done away with,
The idols are destroyed in their midst,
And the God who answered Jacob in the day of his distress is observed as God alone.
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Changes occur in our lives on our journey to "Haran and back" but God remains utterly unchanged in the process.
The journey home doesn't scare Him.
The journey home doesn't surprise Him.
The journey home is all about discovering the absolute supremacy, authority, and authenticity of God's faithful word and His faithful partnership with man.
Rest your hope in His able hand and give Him praise for the "second time around."
From start to finish God will remain utterly faithful!
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Three Study Suggestions:
1) Record the word "Bethel" on a stone or visual aid and rehearse the journey God has led you on. Record the starts, the stops, and the place He has now brought you.
Has He not led you faithfully?
2) Ask God to enhance your recordings of your journey with a new passage or promise from His word that acts as a "recap" of His faithfulness in your life.
3) Testify openly to another to the faithfulness of God and reflect on the journey of a few loved ones and how you might encourage them on their journey home.
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"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."
Philippians 2:13