After Jacob's first encounter with God in the wilderness, he named the place Beth-el, which means "the house of God." Much later, after he had suffered and sinned and repented, and discovered the insignificance of all earthly things, he changed the name of the place to El-beth-el; which literally means "the God of the house of God." So Jacob had shifted his emphasis from the sacred place to the God he had met there. God Himself now took the center of his interest.
Each of us should ask ourselves if we ever get beyond Beth-el. Is God in our thoughts but never been given first place. Love and faithfulness to the local church is a good thing; but when the church becomes so large and important that it hides God from our eyes, it may become a good thing wrongly used. On the negative side, if the local church has major problems, and some do, many just disappear from the Christian scene. Always, God must be first-and we ought never forget that the church was never intended to substitute for God! What is our primary interest? Is it Beth-el or El-beth-el? Is it my church or my Lord? Is it my creed or my Christ?
"He built there an altar, and called the place El-beth-el: because there God appeared unto him." Genesis 35:7
"Deeper, deeper, in the love of Jesus. Daily let me go;
Higher, higher in the school of wisdom, More of grace to know.
Oh, deeper yet, I pray, and higher every day,
And wiser blessed Lord, In thy precious, holy Word"
Charles P. Jones
God's blessings on all today, and remember that you are loved!!!