“Return to the land of your fathers … and I will be with you … I am the God you met at Bethel, the place where you anointed the pillar and made a vow to serve me. Return to the land of your birth” (Genesis 31:3,13).
There are places that will always be special to us. They are places of precious and treasured memories, places where we have been blessed by the Lord. What are we to say about such places? Are we to lose ourselves in nostalgia? No! The past has gone. We must press on into the future. We may not return to the places where we have been, but we must seek the ‘place’ of blessing – and we must remember this; the blessing is in Christ. Where he is. there will be the blessing. “Return” – what kind of return is the Lord looking for? Notice that God identifies himself to Jacob as “the God you met at Bethel.” What was so special about Bethel? – It was the place where Jacob had met with the Lord. A return to the Lord may involve a return to a place where the Lord is worshipped, but it will always be more than a return to a place of worship. It will be a return to the Lord, who is constantly calling out to us, calling us to make our response to him: Let us worship God.