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Etched in Stone

Etched in Stone

Genesis 28:18-19a

So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He called the name of that place Bethel.

Ancient men knew how to memorialize theophanies so much better than we moderns do. Think of it, friend: Jacob doesn’t have an iPhone here. He can’t just click a button a hundred times and store pictures in a digital folder or splash them all over social media. He gets up at the crack of dawn. Maybe he plans to venture out to find a special, impressive stone, but he notices the rock that had served as his pillow all night: the rock that had been his companion throughout the divine epiphany: the rock that had been the only earthen witness to the dream; and he sets it apart as holy. He lifts it as a pillar to Heaven, baptizing it with oil—the way Mary Magdalene baptized our Lord’s feet—hallowing the spot in his heart by calling it what it is: the house of God.    

Friend, next time God meets you on the mountain, don’t grab your camera. Grab a stone instead, and some oil, and maybe a chisel, and leave a monument to remember.