Have you met God at Bethel yet?

Ps Daniel Foo // May 14, 2018, 5:00 am


Photo by Francisco Moreno on Unsplash

When Jacob was sent back to his homeland of Haran to find a wife, he stopped for a night near a city called Luz, a short distance from Jerusalem. That night, Jacob took a stone, and used it as a pillow to sleep.

As he slept, he had a dream of a ladder set on earth and reaching into heaven, with angels ascending and descending on it. Genesis 28:10-12

“Surely the LORD was in this place!” Until this moment, Jacob had not encountered God so personally. He experienced peace, harmony and equilibrium, and realised that God Himself had come to meet him there. 

The name he gave the place was “Bethel” which means “house of God”. It was Jacob’s window into heaven, where he beheld the very presence of God.

Bethel is encountering the presence of God. It is a place of communing and connecting with God, and being transformed as we walk with Him. It is a place of worship and revelation, where God’s presence is revealed in our lives. It represents both our significant encounters with God, as well as our daily walk with Him. 

When we experience both significant moments and a regular connection with Him, we will be increasingly conformed to the image of Christ. 

Significant encounters

Scripture records significant encounters of men with God – all of whom came away dramatically changed. Just like them, we need the occasional significant encounter with Him to “jump start” our lives. These may not happen often, but it transforms us, and from there, we become spiritually revived to continue our daily walk with God. 

Dramatic encounters are never an end in themselves.

Many Christians have a significant encounter with Him when they accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour in their lives. Some encounters happen with dramatic effects – they include falling under the power of the Holy Spirit, feeling emotionally touched, crying and weeping before God, receiving a word of knowledge which was accurate, a miraculous healing, being protected from a near accident, or God intervening in a conflict headed towards disaster. 

But while these are often spiritually high points, they happen occasionally.

Dramatic encounters are never an end in themselves, and our Christian walk is not about achieving spiritual highs and constantly looking for that “mountain-top” experience.

Furthermore, significant encounters are a personal transaction between God and us, and these experiences will differ from individual to individual.

What matters more in our daily walk is the quality of our regular encounters – how we connect with God day to day. 

Connecting with God regularly

God also desires us to experience Him in the daily routines of life.

Through these regular encounters in our work, relationships with friends and family, dealing with health issues, solving problems, going through trials and difficulties, He matures us. 

Through this continual connection with Him, we experience answered prayers, divine intervention and protection, special favour, a daily sense of the presence of God, and a knowledge that He is working in our lives. 

What matters more is the quality of our regular encounters in our daily walk – how we connect with God day-to-day. 

We must have these ongoing encounters with God, and see Him come through for us, day by day, week by week.

How can we connect with God regularly? He has provided us two ways: Intake of the Word, and the communion of prayer. 

Milk, bread, or meat?

In Scripture, food metaphors are frequently used to describe God’s Word. It is spoken of as: 

  1. Milk 1 Peter 2:2-3
  2. Bread Matthew 4:4
  3. Meat or Solid food Hebrews 5:14

Each “food type” serves a specific purpose to strengthen us spiritually. 

Milk is a nutritious drink for babies. The purpose of drinking milk is to help our faith to grow by experiencing an aspect of God’s grace.

The purpose of eating bread is to hear God speak to us regularly. This is when the Spirit instructs, teaches and guides us in our daily walk. The bread of the Word helps us make the right decisions in life.

Finally, the purpose of the Word of God as meat helps us to walk right with God by knowing what comes from Him and what does not. The “meat” of God’s Word helps believers discern what is good and what is evil. 

When we regularly take the three types of good, we will be spiritually healthy and strong. 

Commune in prayer

The second key spiritual discipline is to have regular prayer communion with God. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 reminds us to “pray without ceasing”. We must intentionally connect with the Holy Spirit and learn to acknowledge God throughout the day.

This does not happen automatically; we must intentionally make it part of our journey in spiritual maturity. Relationships take time to build, and prayer is part of the process of strengthening our relationship with God. It also helps us to minister to others. 

Growing deeper in knowing God 

 Our God wants us to know and understand Him. If we do not do so, we will misunderstand and misrepresent Him. 

Three streams of the character of God flow through Scripture: Lovingkindness, justice and righteousness (Jeremiah 9:24). These are how the Lord wants us to know Him, and how we need to make Him known to others. 

When God meets us at Bethel, He reveals the goodness of His grace to us. Bethel brings us encounters with God – powerful and dramatic ones, or quieter and regular communion in our daily lives. As we understand His character, we are transformed through the Spirit into His image from glory to glory. 2 Corinthians 3:18



This article is an excerpt from the book, Running With Horses by Pastor Daniel Foo. The book is available at

Reflection and Discussion

1. Read Isaiah 6:5 where the prophet Isaiah had a significant encounter with God. Recall what your significant encounter with God was like. How has your life been transformed since then? 

2. What steps can you take to become more conscious of God’s presence in your life, such as at work or in your family?

3. How are you growing in your knowledge and understanding of God?  

About the author

Ps Daniel Foo

Daniel Foo is the Senior Pastor and Lead Elder of Bethesda (Bedok-Tampines) Church in Singapore. He ministers in Singapore and various nations, to churches and other Christian organisations. Pastor Daniel is married to Yvonne, and they have two sons.