Bible Reading: Genesis 25 – 36
Milestones (Kilometre Stones?) are as important for Highways as they are for Lifeways. They both mark the progress made or distance travelled over time. In Genesis, altars were built to mark the encounters of the patriarchs with Yahweh. Each of these altars represent life-changing exchanges between God and man. From our Bible Reading let us look at the 3 altars that Jacob built.
1.Bethel – the Altar of Crisis (Genesis 28:18 – 22)
Here, Jacob, wearied from fleeing from his brother, Esau, slept on a stone as pillow. In a dream, God conferred on him the Abrahamic covenant and promised to protect and provide for him until he is brought back to his father’s house. Jacob named the altar, the House of God, and vowed to make Yahweh his God on the grounds that God made good His promise. He also vowed that on his safe return he would set the house of God on the very stone he slept.
II.El-Elohe-Israel – The Altar of Convenience (Genesis 33:20)
In another dream he was told to return home after being away for 14 years. Before he could fully comply he had a physically altering encounter with the angel of the Lord, in which he had his name changed to Israel. Thereafter he amicably reconciled with Esau. But instead of fulfilling his vow of setting up the house of God in Bethel he settled in Shechem and built an altar to the God of Israel. However, Shechem turned out to be a place of sorrow, vengeance and blood-shed.
III.El-bethel – The Altar of Consecration (Genesis 35:6,7)
Jacob finally acknowledged Yahweh as his own God. He and his household stopped their idolatrous practices, and he built the altar to the God of the House of God who was faithful to His Word.
We can see God masterfully leading Jacob to his life’s purpose and destiny in spite of Jacob’s own fumbling and guile. In the same way at major milestones of our life we should spiritually ‘Instagram’ them in order to chart the Lord’s leading in our lives. We will certainly discover that even in our faithlessness, the Lord has been faithful!