Bethel: The Place of Victory
Jacob had been to Bethel on two other occasions, but each time he left God’s house. He was careless and eventually backslid.
Genesis 35:15-19 – “And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel. And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour. And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also. And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin. And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.”
There are four words I’d like to bring to your attention out of this passage. Let these words, their meanings and implications sink deep into your hearts and spirits. May God take theses words from scripture and transform you through them.
To be all that God wants us to be, we must enter the house of God and the experiences that pertain to it. Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Only after we pour ourselves out as a drink offering will the Holy Spirit be poured out in our lives.
Ben-Oni means “child of sorrow.” Birth doesn’t take place without pain. You may be experiencing the blessing and anointing of the church you attend or pastor, but someone had to go through a time of pain during the birthing process for you to experience what you are now (John 16:21). Revival and joy only come after a time of sorrow. John 10:10 says, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Jesus went through a time of pain and sorrow so we could experience life.
Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, That you shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice; and you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. And you now therefore have sorrow, but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man can take from you. (John 16:20, John 22). Jesus is in the business of turning our sorrow into joy.
After Rachel died, Jacob said that Ben-Oni was not going to be their son’s name. He wasn’t going to let his boy go through life remembering the sorrow attached to him. He named him Benjamin, which means “victorious one.” He did not want him to be the son of sorrow, defeat or discouragement.
Have you gone through death, sorrow or difficulty in life? Let me assure you, God can bring victory out of difficulty. In all your hardship, God can use it to bring victory in your life. John 16:33 says, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Romans 8:37 says, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” It was said of those believers in the midst of the tribulation period that they “overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:11). God brings victory out of sorrow and defeat.
This is the first time in scripture we see Bethlehem mentioned. Bethlehem means “house of bread.” When we’ve gone through Bethel, after we’ve travailed and had a son that is victorious, then we possess the house of bread. If you want real life, you have to eat bread. Between Bethel and Bethlehem you’ll travail, a son will be produced, and the son will either be a “child of sorrow” or “victorious one.” The world doesn’t need our sorrow, discouragement and defeat, it needs bread.
Luke 11:5-8 says, “Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.”
Bethlehem is where we will be satisfied with everything we need, whether spiritually, emotionally or physically. At Bethlehem we will have our daily bread (Mathew 6:11) and see God supply our needs “according to his riches in glory” (Philippians 4:19). 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”
The church needs to stop offering the world their social ideas, political opinions and entertainment. People need a place where they can be fed the bread of life and manna from heaven. The church isn’t called to be a social club, but a place where the hurting can find sustenance, strength and life. Let’s stop giving them our pop psychology, social agendas and cute stories. Give them the bread of life for their hungry souls.