Thursday, January 7, 2010

Returning to Bethel

For those of us going through the Bible reading schedule from church, we read Genesis 12, where Abram traveled to Egypt during the famine. I once heard a pastor preach on this message; he spoke of Egypt representing sin, and pointed out that while Abram offered sacrifices at many places, we don't read of him offering a sacrifice in Egypt. Instead, he lied to save his skin and almost ended up in a big mess. However, the Lord was gracious; He intervened. After that, Abram returned to Bethel, the last place we read of him offering a sacrifice to God, and he called on the name of the Lord there. "And he went on his journeys from the south even to Beth-el, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Beth-el and Hai; unto the place of the altar, which he made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord."

The preacher who had preached this message drew the analogy between this and our own lives. Sometimes when things get tough, we wander and go where God did not call us to go. As Pastor said in a recent message, we end up at an impass, and the only way to get out of it is to go back to where we first began to stray. In Abraham's case, this was Bethel.

I wrote a poem about it several years ago, after hearing that one message. I think I was probably twelve or thirteen when I wrote it, so it is not as good as my recent ones. But I thought I'd share it with you anyway. (Note: It was recent sort of as a song, and the last stanza was the chorus. It was written more in late 1800's hymn style but I think I'd like to revise it a little to make it slightly more modern.)


I lived back in Bethel, quite happy within,
But on came the famine, and on came the sin.
I said, “I can’t take this! I must go away!”
So I traveled to Egypt and left off to pray.

I’ve wandered, so weary, awaiting a word
From God on His throne; wondered I if He heard.
And then— lo! He whispered so soft in my ear,
“Return unto Bethel; ’tis there I will hear.”

I trudged back to Bethel. A joy filled my heart!
If only I’d stayed back in Bethel to start!
But God is forgiving— I’m trying once more,
Awaiting the blessings on the heav’nly shore.

Returning to Bethel, that sweet, happy land,
Where prayers flow like water; we’re led by God’s hand.
Returning to where my hard journey began,
I’m turning my footsteps toward Bethel again.


Alaina said...

I like that poem, Melanie!

Rosebud said...

I've always liked that poem of yours, Melanie. I wish I could write poems, but you do a good job of writing what I think when I read God's Word. :)

Teddy said...

I've "always" liked that one too since you shared it w/ me.