“Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan. 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” (Genesis 35:6-7).
I find it intriguing that upon Jacob’s return to Bethel he renames the same place (also known as Luz) El Bethel. This happens following the disasters of Genesis 34, which were a result of he and his families’ living too close to the world. This time Jacob calls on his family to dispose of their idols. It seems to me that many times God’s children experience a touch of God in their lives as Jacob did the first time he was in Bethel while running from his brother. Though these times are powerful and though they allow for promises that God wants to fulfill in our lives, they are also conditional on our obedience. Bethel (House of God) only became El Bethel once Jacob let go of all other idols (dependencies). Knowing the House of God is good! But, like Jacob, we must know the God of the House. To know Him requires full surrender that comes from recognizing that any self-reliance will only bring disaster and hardship for our families. Trusting in God fully, and obeying fully, will allow us to realize God’s full plan for us and our families. To know the God of the House is indeed marvelous.