THE GOD OF BETHEL SHALL FIND YOU
Read Genesis 28:10-22
The place was called Luz.
Jacob was fleeing his brother Esau’s wrath.
He was exiled from his family because of the disagreement between his brother and him.
It was sunset. The nightfall was filled with nostalgia. His weariness required rest. Jacob took a stone, placed it at his head and slept.
He dreamed of a ladder whose top reached to heaven, and angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
The Lord was near him!
He heard God’s voice reassure him of the promise He’d made to Abraham.
When Jacob woke up, he said:
“Certainly the Lord is in this place and I didn’t know. How fearful is this place! It is the House of God and the Gate of Heaven.”
He took the stone on which he had had the dream, set it as an altar, poured oil on it and made promises of faith. He also changed the name of the place from Luz to Bethel: “House of God”!
The religious reader is always referred to the symbolizations of the reality, not the reality of the symbolizations.
Then the outer place turns into the House of God. The ground begins to be venerated.
But Bethel is just a place, and God doesn’t live there. The heavens of the heavens can’t contain Him, neither can Bethel.
The place Jacob was talking about isn’t found in any geography.
“How fearful is this place”, he says.
The fearful place where God inhabits is symbolized by Bethel. It’s open to tour visits. And there are no “tickets” for a meeting with God that can give access to God’s presence anywhere on the Earth.
The fearful place is wherever God reveals Himself. Jacob had a dream. His unconscious opened up. The Holy of Holies had a ladder. Angels ascended and descended on it.
Bethel exists as such in the subjectivity of the being. It’s not a geography; instead, it’s an existential psychology.
Bethel’s outer expressions are memorial only. But its real place is hidden inside the heart.
The heart, however, is fearful!
God’s voice is only heard when it echoes in the heart’s labyrinths.
You don’t need to look for Bethel outside of you.
Just lay down weary and give yourself over:
The God of Bethel shall find you.
From the original “O DEUSDE BETEL ACHARÁ VOCÊ”
Translated by F. R. Castelo Branco :: July 2007
Scripture citations (whether or not in quotes) are taken from the MKJV