Torah Portion Vayetze - Bethel and the Promises of God
Updated: Nov 30, 2022
Genesis 28:10 – 32:3 (2)
This Torah portion means, “and he left”. This comes from the first words of verse 28:10.
We read in this portion about the vow made at Bethel. In Hebrew Beth-El means “House of God”. The word house in Hebrew literally means “family”.
What I find very interesting is that Jacob never calls Yahweh his God. He calls Him the God of his father Abraham and the God of his father Isaac (32:9). Stated in his vow in verses 20-22, Jacob affirms
that he will call this God of his ancestors his God, if he keeps him on his journey and brings him back to his fathers house in peace.
Jacob had no doubt heard the promises made by Yahweh repeated to him from his grandfather Abraham and his father Isaac since his early childhood. I'm just as sure that he had heard them from his mother Rebekah. In fact, they are repeated to him by Isaac just prior to his leaving home (28:3-4).
Why was Jacob unable to say with certainty that Yahweh was his God?
Herein lies the personal nature of Yahweh. They worshiped many gods in those days. They even had household idols. Later we find that Rachel herself leaves home with one of her father's household idols. Jacob knew the names of these gods, but he also knew the name of Yahweh. For him, claiming to worship and serve only one true and living God was a very personal step. How could you choose to serve a God that you didn't feel that you really knew? Was he to base his servanthood on the words of his father or grandfather? Jacob didn't think so! He wanted to know this God himself, personally!
Many people today do not know the God they claim to serve and worship. They claim Him because He was their grandmother's, grandfather's, mother's, or father's God. Maybe He did miraculous things for them. But what about for you?
You aren't a Christian just because your grandfather was a Christian! You are only a true follower of Yeshua if you are doing just that – following Him! You can't follow someone if you don't know how they walked.
Jacob wanted to know how Yahweh walked, talked and behaved. He wanted to prove Him. He wanted to know his God personally. Was He as real as his fathers had said?
How well do you know Yeshua? Have you proved Him ? Have you found Him to be faithful? Don't base your walk on someone else's experience. Get to know Him yourself! Personally! Jacob did!
And now for the rest of the story: after this experience where Jacob got to know the God of his fathers on a personal level, we find that throughout the rest of scripture Yahweh is referred to as the God of
Abraham, Isaac, and JACOB. Jacob had become assured that Yahweh was His God also!