The Power of Spiritual Landmarks
I read Genesis 35:9-15 today...the story of Jacob returning to Bethel after a time of family crisis. The Lord had first revealed Jimself to Jacob there, and Jacob had named the place "Bethel"--House of God. At that point, Jacob knew about God, but didn't know God. Many years later he was back, but this time he'd it was different...he'd met the Lord personally and had received a new name (Israel-- "One who prevails with God or "Prince of God") and a new nature in place of his old cheating "Jacob" ("cheater") nature. This time the he called the place "El Bethel"--the God of Bethel. The Lord was now personal--his God.. At El Bethel Jacob/Israel worships the Lord, reconsecrates himself and reflects on what God has done in his life. The Lord responds by reaffirming His covenant promises to Israel and his family. Bethel is again a spiritual landmark for Israel...the place he could return to when he needed reassurance. Spiritual landmarks are sacred ground. We all need them as anchors and refueling points on our spiritual journey. I've had some wonderful spiritual landmarks on my journey. One of those landmarks is Bethel Camp, where I went to summer camp as a teen. Bethel Camp doesn't meet in the same location anymore...doesn't even meet with the same name anymore. But what Jesus did for me at Bethel Camp changed the entire trajectory of my life. Jesus saved me at Bethel Camp on August 6, 1974. He called me into the ministry at Bethel Camp in 1975. I first sought Him for a clean heart and a Spirit-filled life at Bethel Camp. Bethel Camp is sacred ground for me.
A few years ago I went to the old camp grounds. It is no longer used as a Christan camp. It's pretty run down. Yet, as we drove onto the grounds, I began to weep. When I stood in the spot where Jesus saved me in the old wooden tabernacle, I could hardly speak. I basked in His Presence again...and all I could do was whisper, "I'm still Yours....I'm all Yours." I was on sacred ground.
Where are your spiritual landmarks? Like Jacob and his "Bethel", we all need them. In my case, one of my spiritual landmarks is also called "Bethel." The place isn't important...the name of the place doesn't matter all that much. But what Jesus does for us at our spiritual landmarks matters more than we can ever describe. When times are hard, we can go back to our spiritual landmarks and do what Israel did--worship, reconsecrate in fresh surrender and reflect with humble gratitude about what the Lord did for us there. What the Lord did for Israel, He will do for us--reassure us of His love, reaffirm His covenant promises and refresh us again with His life-giving Presence.
In your heart, visit your spiritual landmark today. I'm sure glad I did.
If you don't have a spiritual landmark yet, why not say yes to Jesus with your whole heart? Whereever you are, it will become sacred ground...and that makes all the difference.