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The God of Bethel.

The God of Bethel.

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" I am the God of Bethel." — Genesis xxxi. 13.

" I am the God of Bethel." — Genesis xxxi. 13.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on May 02, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE GOD OF BETHEL.BY CHARLES H. SPURGEO" I am the God of Bethel." — Genesis xxxi. 13.Jacob bad been sent away to Padan-aram, and be migbt,perbaps. bave stopped tbere if tbings bad been quite as bewisbed. As it was, be stayed tbere quite long enougb. Heseemed almost to foro'et bis fatber's boase in tbe cares tbatbis wives and cbildren and tbe anxious oversigbt of bis con-stantly increasing flocks involved ; but G-od did not meanbim to remain at Padan-aram. He was to lead tlie separatedlife in Canaan, and tberefore tbings grew very uncomfortablewitb Laban. He was not a nice man to live witb at anytime, but be began to sbow bis crotcbets, and bis beart-burnings, and a good deal of tbat scbcming spirit of wbicbtliere was a little in Jacob. It came to bim from bis motber,wbo was Laban's true sister, and bad ber sbare of tbe familyfailing. So tbere were endless bickerings, and bargainings, anddisputes, and overreacbings tbe one of tbe otber, till at last, jks God would bave it, Jacob could bear it no longer, and be.•esolved to take leave of tbat land, and return to tbe land of his kindred. An angel appeared to bim tben to comfort bimt\ going back to liis fatber's bouse ; and tbe angel spake in theTHE GOD OF BETHEL. 283name of the Lord and said, " I am the God of Bethel," whichmust have at once suggested to Jacob that the Lord had notcliauged, more especially in regard to him. The occurrenceat Bethel was the first special occasion, probably, upon whichhe liad known the Lord, and though many years had passed,God comes to Irim as the same God as he was before. " Iam the God of Bethel." You remember, some of you, per-haps, the first time when pardoning love was revealed to you — when you were brought to see the love of God in the greatatoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Well, to-night, the Lordsays to you, ^' I am the same God as you have ever found me.I have not chano;ed. I chano-e not ; therefore ve sons of Jacob are not consumed, even as your father Jacob was notconsumed ; for I was even to him the selfsame God." Brethren,what a mercy it is that we have an immutable God. Every-thing else changes. Yon moon, which but a little while ago
was full, you see now young and new again, and soon shewill fill her horns. Everything beneath her beams changeslike herself. We are never at one stage, and our circum-stances are perpetually varying. But thou, God, art thesame, and of thy years there is no end. Thy creatures are asea, but thou art the terra firma, and when our soul comesto rest on thee, thou Rock of Ages, then we know whatstability means, and, for the first time, we enjoy true rest.Trust ye in the Lord forever, and rest ye in the Lord alone,for he changes not.^' I AM THE God of Bethel." Does not that mean, first,that our God is the God of our early mercies f As we havealready said. Bethel was to Jacob the place of early mercy.Let us look back upon our early mercies. Did they not come tous, as they did to him, unsought and unexpected, and when,perhaps we were unprepared for them ? I do not knowwhat were Jacob's feelings wlien he lay down with a stonefor his pillow, but I feel very sure that he never reckonedthat the place would be the house of God to him. His excla-284r thp: god of bethel.matioii showed this when he s^iid, '' Surely, God is in tliiaplace, and I knew it not ! " It was the last thing on hismind that, amidst those stones, the Lord would set np aladder for him, and would speak from the top of it to hissoul. So, dear friends, with some of us, when God appearedto US, it was in a very unexpected manner. Perhaps wewere not looking for him, but in us was fultilled that mem-orable word, " I am found of them that sought me not."We, like Jacob, were glad to meet him, but we had notexpected that he would come, or come in so divine a man-ner, with such fulness of covenant manifestation, and suchrichness of grace. But he took our soul or ever we wereaware, and carried us right away from ourselves. We, per-haps, like Jacob, were sleeping. God was awake. This wasthe mercy. And he came to us while yet our heart slept andour mind had not felt awakened towards himself. We seemedslumberino; with resfard to divine thina's, but as a dream inthe visions of the night, so God came to us. He found ussleeping, but nevertheless he manifested himself to us as hedoth not unto the world. Do you remember all that ?Then the God you have to look to is the God of that unex-pected grace. Do you want grace to-night ? Why should
you not have it ? Are you unfit for it ? Do you feel moreand more how undeservino; vou are of it ? Yet it came toyou before when you were in just such a state. Whyshould not it come again ? Sitting in this house of prayer,why should not we again be startled, and be made to say,'^ Surely God is in this place, and I knew it not. I did notthink when I came within these wrdls that here he would insuch a special manner reveal himself to me ; but now I shallalways think of the seat wherein I sat, and said, ' IIowdreadful is this place ! It is none other than the house of God, and the gate of heaven.'" The God of unexpectedmanifestations in your early days is the same God stilLPerhaps, dear friends, some of you can look back uponTHE GOD OF BETHEL. 285those early mauifestations as having taken place when yonwere in a very sad and lonely condition. Jacob was alone.He ivas a man that loved society. There are many signs of that. Perhaps, for the first time in his life, he was then outof the shelter of his tent, and away from the familiar voicesof his beloved father and mother. He had always been hismother's son. Something about him had always attractedher. But now no one was within call. He might, perhaps,have heard the roar of the wild beasts, but no familiar voiceof a friend was anywhere near. It was a very lonely night tohim. Some of us recollect the first night we were away fromhome — how dreary we felt as children. The same kind of homesickness will come over men and women when they sayto themselves, '^ow, at last, I have got out of the rangewherein I have been accustomed to go, and I have got awayfrom the dear familiar faces that made life so happy to me."Yes, but it was just then that God appeared to him, andhave not you found it so ? Amidst darkest shades Christappears to you. Have not you had times of real desolationof s})irit, from one cause or another, in which the Lord hasseemed more sweet to you than ever he was before ? Whenall created streams have run dry, the everlasting fount hasbubbled up with more sweet and cooling streams than it everdid at any other time. Well ; recollect all those scenes, andthe accompanying circumstances which made them seem socheering, and then say, '' This God, even the God of Bethel,is still my God ; and if I am at present in trouble, if I amas lonely now as I was then, if I am brought so low that

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