2 And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, "Put away the idols that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments. 3 Then let us arise and go up to Bethel ..." (Genesis 35:2-3)
Elsewhere in Scripture Peter writes: "For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (I Peter 4:17). The House of God, a church, is made up of families. It is the responsibility for each family head, the father/husband of the family, to ensure that the family worships the true God. Bethel means: "House of God." So in this passage, Jacob is preparing his family members to go to church. What are the elements that need to be addressed before a family gathers with the saints in corporate worship?
1. deal with all idolatry. Idolatry is not only images made of God, idolatry includes false ideas about God. The family head must catechise the family, reading and explaining the Scriptures on a daily basis so that each member of the family comes to understand the many faceted nature of God..
2. attend to the behaviours and attitudes that are contrary to God's character.
3. deal with the outward manifestations of inward attitudes, such as inappropriate clothes that are a statement of a family member's rebellion and disrespect.
4. create in the hearts of the family members an understanding that church attendance is not an individual's casual whim, it is the required activity of every member of the family.
5. ensure that the family goes to "Bethel" the House of God, not to a synagogue of Satan.
When every family head in a church takes up his responsibility in the spirit of Jacob, then the church will be chaste and pure. Such a church will have nothing to fear in the day of God's visitation. But woe to the church, whose family heads do not take seriously their responsibilities. Such a church shall feel the lash of God's chastisement. And woe to the world in which such a church resides, for they have no salt to retard their rottenness.