Hallelujah, this is the call of God for the people of Christian Missionary Fellowship Internaltional (CMFI) into 2019.
1 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, 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.
9 After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram, God appeared to him again and blessed him.
10 God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.” So he named him Israel.
11 And God said to him, “I am God Almighty; 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
Genesis 35:1-15 (NIV)
Back to Bethel. Jacob had been to Syria, Paddam Aram, there he had prospered materially and financially and the lord told him “leave this prosperity, get back to bethel, get back to bethel.” When Jacob came back to Canaan, the Lord delivered him from his brother Esau, his brother that had hostility towards him. The brother wanted to accompany him, Jacob refused, so Jacob established a headquarters, built structures in Succoth. Then God came back and told him “back to Bethel, “back to Bethel. Back to where you and I started, get back.” The Lord told me, “don’t stop at success, don’t stop at blessings, don’t stop at struggles, don’t stop. Don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop. Get back to bethel. Get back into an intimate relationship with God. Back to an intimate relationship with God.” He has blessed us as he blessed Jacob. He has delivered us even from our own brethren and the divisions, within the community, but, that is not where God wants us to stop. God wants us to leave, to go beyond numbers, go beyond success, go beyond blessing, go beyond deliverance, go beyond miracles, back to bethel, back to a personal relationship with God.
Bethel meant a lot for Jacob, Bethel meant a lot for Jacob, it was a place where God revealed himself to him, so to get back to Bethel is getting back into a personal relationship with God, it is abandoning all the struggles, all the wit, all the wisdom, all the human craft and street wisdom that had given him success. He had out witted Laban, he had outwitted Esau, he had outwitted so many people but God had blessed him and blessed him and blessed him and blessed him. But here, God was calling him to something else, back to Bethel, back to the knowledge of God, back to the presence of God, back to a relationship with God beyond success, beyond numbers, beyond blessings, back to a relationship with God. Bethel meant a lot to Jacob, Bethel was where he made a covenant with God. So, back to Bethel is back to the covenant. Back to bethel is back to the covenant, back to the commitments and the covenants that we once made. Back to Bethel, getting back to the covenants we once made. We have structures, we have blessings, we have increase in numbers, but God is waiting for us at Bethel. God wants us to go far beyond, far beyond blessings, back to the relationship with God.
Bethel for Jacob was also a place where he made a covenant to give to God, he had promised God that he would give to God if God keeps his own side of the bargain. So going back to Bethel for Jacob was God calling him to his own side of the bargain, back to giving to God. Back to the covenants and the promises and the commitments and the consecrations. You see Jacob could live with a lot of idolatry, the wife Rachel had stolen idols, he himself was a crook, but when they called him back to Bethel, he knew he had to put his life right with God. There are many things that we have lived with, there are many things that we have tolerated, back to Bethel means putting your life right with God, back to Bethel means putting your life right with God. Amongst all the people that Jacob had; his wives, the four of them; his children, the 12 of them and his servants, none of them knew God. Back to bethel was God telling Jacob, bring the people that I have given to you to know me, let them also know me, so to go back to Bethel is to disciple the people that we have, so that they may know God and live with God. None of the others had ever met God, so Jacob had a church full of all kinds of people; with wives that could steal and with jealousy, none of them had met God, none of them had been included in the covenant, none of them had been personally inducted into the promises of Abraham. Back to Bethel, for Jacob it meant all this his carnal church members, the thieves, the idolaters, the jealous, all of them plus himself the crook, all of them, they had to go back to face God and since he was the only one that had once met God, he told them “just remove all the idols that you people have been hiding, you have been hiding them, you have lived with them, you don’t know where we are going to, when I had met Him last time I said, “this is a terrible place.””
Back to Bethel, back to Bethel. It is bringing the people that God has given to us, the multitudes, the million that God has given to us into a relationship with God and, back to Bethel is back to the promises of God, to the family covenant with God. We read it, when Jacob got back to Bethel, God just repeated the family goal; As I commissioned Abraham, I commissioned you, as I commissioned Abraham I commissioned you, so back to Bethel is back to the commission that God gave to Brother Zach and our ministry. Back, back, back to the goal, back to the commission, back to the mission that God gave to this ministry and back to Bethel. When Jacob got there, God promoted him and told him, I make you a prince, back to bethel is getting back to the presence of God that will produce princes in Christian Missionary Fellowship International.
Many of us are Jacobs; smart guys, we raise funds here, we dribble people with our mouths, we rap the words and quote the dictionary and we carry people along with charisma, back to Bethel is building the relationship with God that will give us princes, it is coming back to the presence of God so that in our ministry our leaders may know spiritual promotion, that they may become princes with God not Just Jacobs succeeding in the things of this world. Back to Bethel is back to the one thing that will produce princes so that we don’t remain a carnal ministry, a carnal ministry with smart leaders using the arm of flesh. Back to bethel, back to the presence of God, back to the covenants so that we may become men of glory, so that we may have leaders that emerge, so that God may raise from amongst us Israel’s princes with God. That is what God is calling us to in 2019. Back to Bethel is an event, that is what the convention will be for us. All that we are describing, that is what it means, back to Bethel, back to an event, an event, a bethel event a rendezvous with God, beyond success, beyond blessing, beyond deliverance, beyond miracles, beyond prosperity, back to a relationship with God. That is the Word God gave me for CMFI. Those who use this year to get back to their Bethel, to their relationship with God, to their commitments to God, to the commission and the goal that God gave to our ministry God will give us princes, God will give us something beyond success.
Hallelujah, that is the call of God for us into 2019.