Friday, October 16, 2015

Jacob Anoints a Stone

In Genesis 28:1–22, we have a remarkable narrative. The scene opens with Jacob leaving his family. He is a wandering, homeless man. We find him in the wilderness, weary and tired. It is evening. Jacob puts his head upon a stone, and he falls asleep and dreams.

In the dream, God gives Jacob the very first revelation of the house of God in all of Scripture. Jacob sees a ladder extending from heaven to earth. And he beholds the angels of God “ascending and descending” on it (Gen. 28:12). This mysterious ladder connects the visible and the invisible; it connects the unseen realm to the seen realm; it connects the heavenlies to the earth.

To be more specific, the ladder connects God with human beings. And upon that ladder, Jacob sees commerce between heaven and earth. For the first time since the garden of Eden, traffic is flowing between the heavenly realm and the earthly realm.

Jacob wakes up and comes to this staggering conclusion: “God lives here! This place where I have laid my head is the house of the living God!” Within this sentence we discover another hallmark of the house of God: the presence of the Almighty.

What does this dream tell us? It tells us that God’s ageless purpose is to dwell on this earth with human beings. God’s eternal quest, His ultimate intention, is that heaven and earth be joined together so that He may live with the likes of us.

When the dream is over, Jacob takes the stone that he slept upon and sets it up as a pillar. He then does something unusual with it. He pours oil upon it and calls it “Bethel,” which means the house of God.

I want you to imagine that stone with oil running down its sides. That stone represents the first building block that will make up the dwelling place of the living God.

The stone speaks of that which is lifeless and dead. The oil speaks of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of life. The image of oil being poured upon a stone is a dramatic portrait of the living God being joined with dead humanity. What is the result of this combination?

A living stone.

The house of God is made out of living stones (1 Peter 2:5). A living stone is one that was once dead, but oil has been poured upon it to transform it into a building block for God’s habitation. Jacob’s revelation is simply this: God is in quest of a house, and that house will be upon the earth and made up of human beings who have been quickened by His Spirit.

Behold the homesick tears of a God whose deep impulse is to dwell with His creation. Watch this marvelous Creator, with bags packed, searching for a home. And that home will be comprised of fallen human beings, just like you and me.

At this point of the story, the Lord is still homeless. The reason is simple: The Almighty cannot take up residence in a single stone.

What, then, will He do?


Taken from the book From Eternity to Here by Frank Viola author.

See also the new Deeper Christian Life Network.