The Berean Expositor
Volume 19 - Page 148 of 154
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Specially for Young People.
Bethel and Peniel.
pp. 9 - 13
There are two experiences in the life of Jacob that provide valuable lessons for all who
seek God and His will. The first is at Bethel, and the second at Peniel.
The circumstances that led to Bethel give point to the grace that was there manifested.
Let us note them:--
Jacob had practiced deceit upon his father, Isaac (Gen. 27: 19).
Jacob had incurred his brother's anger (Gen. 27: 41).
Jacob was compelled to flee for his life (Gen. 27: 42, 43).
Yet in spite of these serious departures from truth, he is not sent away from home
without receiving the covenant blessing that both he and his mother had plotted in vain to
obtain (Gen. 28: 3, 4). The journey to Haran begins, and the first halt is made at a
place called Luz (Gen. 28: 19). Now this name has a bearing upon the story, and we
will therefore consider its meaning.
Luz means to turn aside, decline or depart, and in the six places where it occurs
(Prov. 2: 15; 3: 21, 32; 4: 21, and Isa. 30: 12) it is translated "depart", "froward"
and "perverse". We are certain that Jacob would be sensitive on this first day of
banishment from home, and the significance of his "departure", coupled with his
"perverseness", would be impressed upon him. In Gen. 30: 37 we meet the word luz
again in the masculine, where it is translated "hazel", probably because the tree is flexible
and easily bent. Now the Arabic word luz means an almond tree, and Jacob would
probably be conversant with this fact, although there is another word in the Hebrew for
almond, which means "to watch", the almond being one of the first to blossom in Spring.
This forms a point of teaching in Jeremiah:--
"I see a rod of an almond tree . . . . . I will hasten (or watch over) My word to perform
it" (Jer. 1: 11, 12).
"Like as I have watch over them to pluck up . . . . . so will I watch over them to
build . . . . ." (Jer. 31: 28).
Jacob would certainly know the first meaning of luz, "depart" and "perverse"; he
might also know the second, "the almond", and whether he at first realized it or not, he
was to learn the blessed lesson of free grace, that, perverse as he may be in himself, the
Lord would "watch" over His Word to perform it. As a result of the dream that God
gave him at Luz, Jacob changed its name to Bethel, which means "The house of God",