Jacob’s Stone Pillar
Jacob set up a stone pillar to mark the place where God had spoken to him. Then he poured wine over it as an offering to God and anointed the pillar with olive oil.
Jacob set up a pillar in order to identify the place where God had spoken to him. This was, in fact, the second time Jacob did this in Bethel (see also Gen. 28:18). Later in the Old Testament, Samuel does a similar thing, naming the stone of commemoration Ebenezer, which means, in Hebrew the stone of help (1 Sam. 7:12).
In a day when we tend to neglect the past, when it's easy to forget about what God has done in our lives, perhaps we need stones of remembrance. Sometimes places serve in this way. For example, we might go back to the summer camp where we first gave our lives to Christ and there we are filled with gratitude for God's grace. Or perhaps we might save a bookmark, a letter, or even a stone to signify God's presence.
Knowing our need for things to remind us of God's grace, Jesus gave us the Lord's Supper. Here, the very tangible and simple elements of bread and wine help us to remember the cross. We experience God's grace in a fresh way through these simple "stones" of remembrance.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Do you have any markers in your life that remind you of God's faithfulness to you? Do you need something like this? What could you "set up" to remind you of God's presence in your life?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, how quickly I forget your grace to me. I receive it, enjoy it, profit from it, and then move on to the next thing. Then I wonder why my life can seem so empty, why my faith falters when challenged.
Forgive me, Lord, for forgetting your goodness to me. Forgive me for my insulting ingratitude.
Help me, I pray, to do that which will help me to remember you. Surely extended times of intentional gratitude can do this. But perhaps I need to set up "stones" of remembrance in my own life, so that I might be continuously reminded of your grace to me. Or perhaps I need to see with new eyes the "stones" that are already present in my life. Amen.