This is the second in a series of articles about stones in the Bible. In our first article, Don’t get stoned again — A Stone in Genesis, we considered how stones were used as an instrument for administering capital punishment in Israel. But the stones we “pick up” will be stones of instruction. Our “stones” will “teach” us and help us to remember our God. If you didn’t read “A Stone and a Name…in Genesis,” do so now (that article will link back to this page). As we continue our study about significant stones in the Bible, we’ll “build” a 12-stone memorial. So, let’s “pick up” another stone in Genesis.
Stone #2 — A Pillow Stone of Rest
Another early mention of stones in the Bible is in the account of Jacob’s journey to Haran. Jacob spent the night along the way and used stones for his pillow:
Genesis 28:11 And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
As Jacob slept the Lord visited him. This account is familiar to most. It tells about a ladder reaching to Heaven and angels ascending and descending (Genesis 28:12), and of God’s speaking to Jacob He confirming the Abrahamic covenant:
Genesis 28:13-14 And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
Jacob understood this to be the covenant of his fathers and he took the stone he had used for a pillow and set it up for a pillar to mark the place where he met with God:
Genesis 28:18-21 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first. And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
Genesis 29:1 Then Jacob went on his journey….
Jesus in the Old Testament
All the historical accounts in the Bible point to Jesus in symbolism, pattern, and typology. In Genesis 28, we read about memorial stones that are set up as a pillar to remember God. This is why we are gathering “stones.” Each will represent a way in which we remember, thank, and praise our Lord. While we might not use a stone for a pillow, we do have hard, cold stones in our lives that we can use to find rest. No matter how hard or difficult life’s trials, in every “stone” in our life, we might know that Jesus is with us! He has promised never to leave us (Heb 13:5) and that He will always be with us (Matt 28:29). When we find a “pillow of rest” in the stones of our lives, we find a joy and peace that surpasses understanding and we are able to say (as Jacob did), “Behold, the LORD stood above it” (Genesis 28:13). Jesus stands above all the events in our lives, and when we call to remembrance the sovereignty of God over all things, we find sweet rest and enjoy pleasant dreams.
There is one more thing to remember when the hard, cold stones of life are turned into a sweet pillow for of comfort and rest. Just as Jacob did, we are to take those “stones” and “erect” them as a memorial to the Lord. Just as God came down and called to Jacob’s remembrance the covenant He had made with Abraham, He desires to call to our remembrance the covenant He has with us through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. God is Faithful and True to keep His covenant and yet sometimes we need to be reminded of the riches we have in Jesus. When we “erect” a memorial, we will be able to look back at the stones in our lives and remember how God’s hand of divine providence worked in various situations and brought us through it and gave us rest. We won’t focus on the stone cold hardness of the world but on the sweet stone pillow of Christ’s mercy and grace.
Add this stone to the memorial onyx stone and let it be a reminder of the peace of the Lord in all things and the comfort and rest only He can provide.
1: A Stone and a Name—in Genesis and Exodus
2: A Stone of Rest—a pillow of comfort in Genesis
3: A Stone Covered Well in Genesis
4: A “Mizpah” Stone of Blessing—and God’s faithful watch in Genesis
5: A Stone of Precious Promise—Jesus, My Rock
6: A Stone of Foundation and Victory—Jesus, My Banner
7: A Stone of Deliverance and Memorial—Jesus, My Saviour
[12 stones you can’t pick up, but you need to know are there]
8: A Stone of Help in 1 Samuel–an Ebenezer Stone—Jesus, My Hep
9: A Stone of Remembrance of God’s Power and Provision—Jesus, My Provision
10: A Stone of Praise—Jesus, My King
11 & 12: A Lively Stone in a Living Stone —Jesus, in whom we live, and move, and have our being.
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