Names of God – Part 61
God of the House of God
I left this to almost the end of this series because it contains the Hebrew word for God twice. This is not tautology.
Although El is at the beginning and the end of this name of God the implications from the context is that God is saying to Jacob that he is the God he has already met.
The story in brief. Jacob has conned his twin brother Esau out of his birthright and their father Isaac’s blessing. Fleeing from Esau, Jacob had a dream about a ladder going to heaven, and was told that things would be alright in exile. Jacob named the place of the dream Bethel, Beth-El, the house of God.
At least 14 years later God speaks to Jacob again, calling himself El Bethel to remind Jacob he is the same God he met when fleeing from Esau, to tell him it’s time to go back. The God who protected him on the way out will protect him on the way back. You can find this in Genesis chapter 31, the name comes at verse 13.
The idea of remembering God’s protection in the past helps our present difficulties.
David, in Psalm 54, understood this. David, hiding from King Saul who wants him dead, is asking God for protection when his hiding place has been discovered. His hope in God, who has protected him in the past, and will protect him again. He finishes the prayer for help in praise, saying:
6 With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you;
I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good.
7 For he has delivered me from every trouble,
and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.
In times of trouble look back on what God has done for you in the past, and be confident in his protection.