God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from Paddan Aram, and blessed him. God said to him, “Your name is Jacob. Your name shall not be Jacob any more, but your name will be Israel.” He named him Israel. God said to him, “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations will be from you, and kings will come out of your body. The land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give it to you, and to your seed after you will I give the land.”
God went up from him in the place where he spoke with him. Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he spoke with him, a pillar of stone. He poured out a drink offering on it, and poured oil on it. Jacob called the name of the place where God spoke with him “Bethel.”
Back in Genesis 32:28, the Angel told Jacob that he would no longer be called Jacob, but we see that the name change actually starts here at Bethel. We learn a little more detail in the book of Hosea:
Hosea 12:4-5 :
Indeed, he struggled with the angel, and prevailed;
he wept, and made supplication to him. He found him at Bethel, and there he spoke with us, even Yahweh, the God of Armies;
Yahweh is his name of renown!
It is a very important theme in the Bible that God called out a people of His own to live in a land of His own. At this point, Jacob was in the place that God gave to his fathers and would become the inheritance of his children. As believers in Jesus, it is important for us to recognize that God gave this land to the Jews. There have always been people who have challenged this, but the Bible is very clear on the issue. The Land is God’s and He has given it to the Jews.
I really like how Israel, set up pillars in the places where God talked to him. God lives in us now. We are a living pillars in that God continues to communicate with us by the Holy Spirit through the Bible. There is never a moment that God is separate from us in our spirit as we submit to Him. What an amazing thing it is to be a Christian and have God living within us.