The Bethel Call:
Chosen and sent by God
"And God said unto Jacob,
arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God.....and he built there an altar, and called the
place El-Bethel, because there God appeared unto him.....And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padan- aram,
and blessed him"~ (Genesis 35:1, 7, 9)
Do you know that God has
a call on your life? And if you know this, do you perceive it? Do you understand the Lords call, and acknowledge it, and most important, do you fulfill that call? Jacob
was called to go up to Bethel. Bethel literally means "House of God" or "Temple
of God." He was called to dwell there, and to build an altar unto God, and God
appeared to Jacob and blessed him. An altar is a platform upon which sacrifice
is offered, or where sacred purposes are carried out. Today we do not offer animal
sacrifices, but we do offer our own bodies as a living sacrifice. Our body is
the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and it is here God "appears" to us....it is here, within our hearts and minds, that we first
hear and acknowledge Gods voice calling us.
Is this calling something we
suddenly decide to follow? Is it a product of our minds? Is it perhaps a choice we make after seeing an ad for a Bible College or Ministry training? It is Not! Look at he words of the Apostle Paul, and let this sink in for a moment:
"Paul, an Apostle, (not of men,
neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him form the dead.).... But I certify you, brethren, that
the gospel which was preached of me is not after man, for I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it; but by the
Revelation of Jesus Christ" ~(Galatians 1:1,11,12)
This is profound, and I
think a lot of people in church miss this point. The calling does not come from
man. It doesn't come from your own mind.
It is not of the flesh, but it IS from the Spirit. "The Lord said to Jacob,
ARISE, GO UP TO BETHEL". And when Jesus appeared to Paul he said "but rise, and
stand upon they feet; for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these
things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee."- (Acts 26:16) And Paul tells King Agrippa, who he is telling about his conversion, "I was not disobedient unto the heavenly
vision."~ (Acts 26:19)
Paul obeyed. He went, as did Jacob, and the Lord not only appeared to him that once, but again the Lord appeared to
him to teach him, and to clarify his mission which he was called to. Just as Jacob, whom the Lord appeared to a second Time,
and blessed him.
Good calls people. God chooses people. And God instructs
us, he guides us, he reveals to us, he speaks to us. Do you listen? Its not something other people tell you. It comes from God. Who so ever has ears to hear, let hem hear!
By faith, grasp and lay hold of the call....
"Eye hath not seen, nor
ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit seacheth all things, yea, the deep things
of God... Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things
that are freely given to us of God."~(1 Corinthians 2: 9, 10, 12)
Now we see
its by THE SPIRIT that we can know the things God gives us- FREELY gives us, and we can know the DEEP THINGS of God- those
things that seem a mystery to everyone, things hard to understand, but God reveals these to us by Spirit, not by flesh or
by mind, or by opinion of others.
But ye are not in
the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that The Spirit of God dwell in you. Now
if any man have not The Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be
in you, the body is dead because of sin, but The Spirit is life because of Righteousness. ~Romans 8:9-10) The Spirit of God,
The Spirit of Christ, in us, in you- and The body, that is, the lusts of the flesh, and the worldly opinions of mind should
be dead. The Spirit is alive and The Spirit is righteousness. For as many as are led by The Spirit of God, they are the sons of God~ (Romans 8:14)
You are LED by the Spirit
of God, called, then led, and The Spirit is life because of RIGHTEOUSNESS I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of
the earth, I said not unto the seed of Jacob, seek ye me in vain. I the Lord
speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.~ (Isaiah 45:19) The Lord
declares his call and his purpose to you. He declares a thing that is right. God
forbid any of us refuse his call, or even neglect it by putting it off. Arise
and go! The Lord declares!
God called to Jacob and
said, Arise and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. ~(Acts 9:6) And yet again, the Lord also spoke
to Annanias with instruction to find Paul and pray for him: Arise, and go~(Acts 9:11) Seems pretty consistent. Arise, and go and as those who were called obeyed, they were blessed because they were in the will of God. Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness; he is gracious, and full of
compassion and righteous.~(Psalm 112:4) If God has called you, listen, and follow that calling. God will confirm it, and make it clear, but you must grasp it by faith.
He will equip you, because his gifts come with power. Its not like the
Toy you buy in the store that says batteries not included. With Gods gifts, the
batteries, the power is most certainly included.
As every man hath received
the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the Oracles of God, if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability
which God giveth~ (1 Peter 4: 10-11)
We are to speak as Oracles
of God, with the ability God gives us, and you can be sure that God will equip us with every necessary tool for whatever calling
he has for us.
Do not forget, Jesus
is the Lamb of God, he is the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, and they that are with him are called, you are chosen, and
you are being called to be faithful. When God called Jacob and Paul, and Abraham
and Moses, they obeyed and heeded the call. They were faithful. Let us not be like the Prophet Jonah who ran in the opposite direction when the Lord called him to Arise,
go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it. ~ (Jonah 1:2) We all know the story.
God got Jonahs attention didnt he? And he had to call him a second time
Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee-(Jonah 3:1-2) If you receive a call
from God it is wise to heed it the first time!
James 4:17 tells
us Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not , to him it is sin. To
run from Gods call is sin. To procrastinate and put off the calling until later
is sin. Has God called you? Arise
and go! Oh, none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.~(Daniel 12:10)
But you, Christian, do you understand? Or do you straddle the fence, serving
God only half heartedly? Do you come to church, sing a few songs, listen to the
sermon, then just go your own way, do your own thing? Have you heard Gods call,
but pretend its got to be for someone else, but not you?
Consider this: Perhaps
you are like Moses when he first was called atop the mountain by the burning bush: who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh,
and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?~( Exodus 3:11) And God tells Moses Certainly I will be
with thee!~(Exodus 3:12) So, what is there to fear? Or is it selfishness? Is it sin? Is it pride? What is it that holds a person back from stepping out and obeying Gods call?
For the Lord God is a sun
and a shield, the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly~ (Psalm 84:11)
Jesus said I have meat
to eat that you know not of~(John 4:32) but then he clarifies for his disciples, My meat is to do the will of him who sent
me, and to finish his work.~(John 4:34) Now we know Jesus ministered heavily for 3 years, and at the end of his earthly ministry
he was arrested, beaten and crucified. He obeyed the call. He went. And although he suffered greatly, he was blessed. He was resurrected, He was obedient unto death and God highly exalted him.
Oh yes, there may be difficulties
in your calling. There are blessings, but there are also hard duties. You may be called to preach against a wicked city or nation as Jonah was.
You may even be called as an Apostle, like Paul was to a foreign land- and perhaps to a place where they dont welcome
Christians. But you can be sure God will equip you, and he will bless you.
Now let us look at what
Jacob told his family when he was called: Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments,
and let us arise, and go up to Bethel.~(Genesis 35:2-3)
This is imperative when
you receive the call, that you rid yourselves of any sin, of any idols in your life.
Such things have to go or God cannot bless you. Notice, put away strange
gods, be clean, and change your garments. The garments today are symbolic of
the ferments of righteousness , this too is a work of the Spirit, sanctification, being se apart for the work God has called
you to do. God will not serve with your sins.
You are called forst to repentance, and to bear the fruits of holiness. Be
clean and change your garments, and let us arise and go up to Bethel.
And when we go, do not
let the fear of man hinder you. The fear of man is a snare, and it will certainly
impede your calling if you allow fear to have place in your life. We should always
be ready to answer those who question why we believe what we do, and this is part of the calling. If we cant answer as to what we believe how can we obey this calling?
Do we har the Holy Ghost
calling? Has the Lord passed by you and given you a sign, or spoken to you in
his till small voice? If so, stop doubting.
The Holy Ghost calls today just as he did in ages past. When The Holy
Ghost said, separate me Barnabus and Saul for the work whereunto. I have called
them and they were sent forth by the Holy Ghost~ (Acts 13:2-4) And if you hear, do not be afraid or doubt God. When The Lord called Samuel as a child, Samuel was unsure, but Eli the priest perceived that the Lord had
called The child. So then Samuel, upon hearing Gods voice once more, answered
Speak, for thy servant heareth.~ (1 Samuel 1:7-10)
If God is calling you, you WILL
hear him. You must recognize his voice.
You must discern Gods voice out of all the clamour of other Gods voice out of all the clamour of other voices. God does not call with confusion; he makes his will clear. Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there We are the sheep of his pasture, and the sheep hear his voice;
and he calleth his own sheep by name, and he leadeth them outThe sheep follow him; for
they know his voice~(John 10:3-4)
God has called some of us, and has chosen us for works he will show us. My mission in this life may not be the same as yours. But
God gives to each according to his will. We need to be open to hear his call
clearly. Have open spiritual eyes and ears so we can have the clear direction
of the Lord for our life. Where is your Bethel? It could be a place, or a ministry,
or a mission unique from all else. Will you obey and go up to Gods house, build
there an altar and offer yourself for the service of your Lord?