Sunday, September 12, 2021

God’s Timeline – Part 41 Jacob Returns to Bethel

 God’s Timeline – Part 41

Jacob Returns to Bethel

Pastor Bruce A. Shields

House of Faith Church | |

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SERMON TIMELINE (2021 A.D. = 5781 Jewish Calendar Year)

-         Creation Week (Approximately 4000 - 3900 B.C.)

o   Adam, Eve, and the Fall


-         Cain and Abel

o   Evil Fills the World


-         Noah Did All God Commanded Him

o   The Flood (2379 – 2279 B.C.)

o   God’s Covenant with Noah

o   Noah’s Sons and Ham’s Sin

o   Nations of Noah’s Sons


-         Tower of Babel


-         God calls Abram (2091 B.C.)

o   Abram and Lot part ways (2085 B.C.)

o   Rescue of Lot (2084 B.C.)


-         The Lord’s Covenant with Abram for Isaac

o   Hagar and Ishmael Born (2080 B.C.) Abram 86 years old

o   Sarai and Isaac

o   The Three Visitors

o   Abraham Pleads for Sodom


-         Birth of Isaac (2066 B.C. Abraham 99 years old Sarah 90-Hagar and Ishmael sent away)

o   The Lord tests Abraham (2054 B.C.)

o   Sarah Dies 127 years old (2030 B.C. Abraham is 136)


-         Isaac marries Rebekah (2026 B.C. Isaac was 40 when he married Rebekah)


-         Jacob and Esau are born (2006 B.C. Isaac was 60 Abraham 159)

o   Abraham dies at 175 (1991 B.C. Isaac was 75)

o   Isaac receives the Birthright and his father’s blessing

o   Esau marries two Hittites at 40 (1966 B.C.)

o   Esau marries a daughter of Ishmael

o   Jacob travels to his grandfather’s family to find a wife (1928 B.C.)

o   Jacob’s Dream at Bethel

o   Jacob marries Leah then Rachel

§  Levi is born (1921 B.C.)

§  Joseph is born (1916 B.C.)

o   Jacob fled Laban and is pursued (1908 B.C.)

o   Jacob Prepares to meet Esau

o   Jacob Wrestles with God & Becomes Israel

o   Jacob Meets With Esau after 20 Years

o   Jacob’s Daughter Raped by Shechem (1906 B.C.)

o   Jacob Returns to Bethel






Jacob had to leave his father Isaac’s land in fear of his twin brother Esau’s wrath. Jacob, meaning trickster or deceiver, tricked Esau out of his birthright and tricked Isaac into giving him the Father’s Blessing instead of Esau.


On his way to his grandfathers land he has a vision, and the Lord shows him the stairway to heaven and tells him the land he is on will be given to him, as well as the covenant the Lord made with Abraham, then Isaac, passing this promise to Jacob. The land he was to have was called Beth-El, meaning House of God.


Jacob continues to the land of his grandfather, he marries his uncle Laban’s daughters, whom he was tricked by, into marrying both Leah and Rachel, as well as working 7 years for each of them. Wanting to leave, his uncle changed their agreement many times and convinced Jacob into staying six more years.


Jacob sneaks off in the night, and in the process, Rachel steals her father Laban’s idols.


Laban catches up to Jacob, the idols are not found because Rachel hid them, and they make a treaty of peace.


Jacob heads off to meet Esau and is afraid Esau will still want to kill him, so he splits his camp up into two, and that night sends his wives, children, and belongings to the other side of the river.


That night Jacob wrestled with the Lord because the Lord wanted Jacob to know who he really is and remind him of the covenant. The Lord says Jacob (deceiver) is named Israel, one who wrestles with man and God and overcomes.


No longer to be the deceiver, but the overcomer!


Esau arrives and all is forgiven, but instead of being Israel, Jacob returns to being the deceiver and immediately lies to Esau about meeting up with him. They never meet again.


Instead, Jacob moves to Sukkoth, instead of returning to Bethel (the house of God) as Israel as agreed with the Lord. He then moves to Shechem where he buys land and lives.


This is still far from Bethel where he is supposed to be!


It is here that Jacob’s daughter Dinah is raped by Shechem.


Jacob did nothing about it when he heard, However, Simeon and Levi tricked Shechem and all the men in the city into getting circumcised and three days later killed them all.


Jacob was angry at this, afraid of retaliation.


Jacob was living in fear, afraid of everyone but the Lord. Forgetting his covenant with God and the Promise was given to him.


Bringing us to Genesis 35 and Jacob’s return to Bethel.




Genesis 35:1-15

“Then God said to Jacob, “Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.”


2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. 3 Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.” 4 So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the oak at Shechem. 5 Then they set out, and the terror of God fell on the towns all around them so that no one pursued them.


6 Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan. 7 There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel, [God of Bethel] because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.


8 Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died and was buried under the oak outside Bethel. So it was named Allon Bakuth. [Oak of Weeping]


9 After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram, [Northwest Mesopotamia] God appeared to him again and blessed him. 10 God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, [deceives] but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel. [overcomer]” So he named him Israel.


11 And God said to him, “I am God Almighty [El-Shaddai]; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will be among your descendants. 12 The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.” 13 Then God went up from him at the place where he had talked with him.


14 Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. 15 Jacob called the place where God had talked with him Bethel.”


       I.         JACOB…REMEMBER

a.      Go to Bethel

                                     i.      Since Jacob followed his own will after meeting with God, the only time he hears from God is in Shechem when the Lord tells him to return to Bethel.

                                  ii.      From the time God had named him Israel, Jacob was to live as an overcomer and take the land of Bethel.

                               iii.      Instead, he lived in fear, afraid of Esau and ran, afraid of Laban and stayed, then snuck off in the night, Afraid to meet Esau after 20 years, afraid of Shechem and his father after Jacob’s daughter Dinah was raped. Then afraid of what may happen after his sons retaliated for the rape of their sister.

                                iv.      God returned to Jacob to get him back into God’s Will and start living as Israel.


b.     Jacob says, “Get rid of your foreign gods you have with you”

                                     i.      This shows Jacob was living outside of God’s will during this time

1.      His wife Rachel had stolen the idols from her father Laban

2.      They were not recovered when her father caught up to them, she hid them in her saddle.

3.      The fact Jacob is saying this makes me believe that by this time he knows there are false gods in his camp, idols among his people, and maybe he even knows about his wife’s idols?

4.      He never corrected them, which he promised God to make God his God!

5.      Now he has the people rid themselves of the idols and symbols (earrings and such)

c.      They buried the idols and the Terror of God fell upon the surrounding towns

                                                    i.      NOW that Jacob is BACK in God’s Will, God places terror over the surrounding villages and towns so no one pursues Jacob and his nation as they return to Bethel.



a.      Jacob called the place El Bethel (God’s house of God)

                                        i.      Building an altar when you are in God’s Will as opposed to doing your own will and building an altar expecting God to bless

                                     ii.      We never see Jacob receiving a blessing after building an altar in Shechem, in fact, the only event that happens there is his daughter is kidnapped, raped and held for ransom.



a.      God appeared to Jacob and blessed him

b.     God reprimands Jacob

                                              i.      Your name IS Jacob

                                           ii.      Remember the last time God spoke with Jacob, He asked him what his name was. In other words, who Jacob thought he was, Jacob meaning deceiver.

                                        iii.      Then God made a covenant with Jacob and changed his name to Israel, or one who wrestles with man and God and overcomes.

                                         iv.      Instead of being Israel and returning to Bethel, Jacob deceived Esau, lived in Sukkoth, then moved to Shechem, where his daughter was raped, and he did nothing. He was not living as Israel, but Jacob the deceiver, living in fear.

                                            v.      This time God doesn’t ask who Jacob thinks he is, He tells him, You are Jacob.

                                         vi.      Because you know who else Jacob tried to deceive? God.

1.      Jacob promised if God would protect him, and do all that was promised in the covenant, Jacob would make God his God! He was to BE Israel, and live in Bethel, the Land the Lord gave him!

2.      Instead, he went where he wanted, did what he wanted, and even built an altar in Shechem and expected God to bless it.

3.      From the time God told him to be Israel until he returned to Bethel, Jacob was Jacob and we read of no blessings by God during this time, and we don’t see His protection either with Jacob’s daughter being kidnapped and raped and held for ransom.

                                      vii.      Your name is Jacob…BUT, you will no longer be called Jacob, your name WILL BE ISRAEL!


c.      I am El-Shaddai (I am God Almighty)

                                              i.      At this point God repeats the covenant He made with Abraham, passed to Isaac, now passed to Jacob. This is the covenant promise of God that not only protects this generation and future generations but secures the line for the Savior Jesus Christ to be born.

1.      Be fruitful and increase in number

2.      A nations and community of nations will come from you

3.      Kings will be among your descendants

4.      The land I gave Abraham and Isaac I also give to you

5.      And I will give this land to your descendants after you

                                           ii.      From the time of their meeting when they wrestled until now, Jacob lived as Jacob and outside the Will of God.




Now that Jacob has returned to Bethel, the first thing God does is bless him. Why? Because Jacob is finally doing what he was supposed to be doing.


Then God rebrands Jacob once more, you will be Israel from this point on!


Then God reminds Jacob of the covenant promise that has been handed down from Abraham to Isaac and now to Jacob.


Jacob then sets up an altar (this time where he is supposed to, as opposed to doing his own will, building an altar in Shechem and expecting God to bless him there)


A stone pillar where God had talked with him and he poured out a drink offering and an oil offering on it.


Jacob (Israel) now in the Will of God in Bethel, where he should have been blessed the whole time, is now by God and the covenant and its promises can now move forward.




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