Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God. And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”Genesis 28:16-22 NKJV
Jacob was running from His brother, Esau. He had used deceit to rob Esau of his blessing as the firstborn, and Esau wanted to kill him. To get him away, his mom suggested that he be sent back to her family in order to find a wife. On his first night on the road, he slept with his head on a rock and had a dream of a stairway to heaven with angels traversing up and down. The Lord spoke to him, conferring upon him the covenant promises that had been given to Abraham so many years before.
Three beautiful themes are intertwined in this story:
- The House of God (Beth-el). There are places and times where Heaven opens its windows and revelation flows. As Jacob said, “Surely the LORD is in this place.”
- Jacob poured oil on the rock. This is the first reference to anointing with oil. It symbolizes the outpoured presence of God, a place where Heaven and earth come together.
- Jacob promised a tithe to his God. Notice, Jacob knew that bringing a tenth was a statement: “YAHWEH is my God.” This is the first record we have of Jacob acknowledging that YAHWEH was his God as well as his dad’s.
As you go to the gathering of the saints today, be aware that in the New Testament the assembled believers are the house of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). Expect the oil of anointing to flow in that gathering: wisdom and guidance and glory from Heaven (1 Corinthians 2:4-5, 12-13). Do your part by bringing a tenth and giving it to whomever or whatever you believe to be your God (Hebrews 7:8). Have a great Sunday!