Genesis 28:18,19 And Jacob rose early in the morning and took the stone he had put under his head, and he set it up for a pillar (a monument to the vision in his dream), and he poured oil on its top [in dedication]. And he named that place Bethel [the house of God]; but the name of that city was Luz at first.
I am always amazed at God. I arose early this morning to study. I don’t know how I ended up here in Genesis except it was He. I came in search of oil and opened to the first mention of oil in scripture. Genesis 28 tells of Jacob as he was called by the Lord to go out, to take himself away from his mother and father, and to become a people. As I read, and paused at this verse, I felt to look up the word “Luz.”
Luz is from the Arabic and means Almond Tree, or Early Riser. The almond tree is in bloom about late February, the first of all the trees to bloom. So here, Jacob was called to a place he named, Bethel, or the house of God, which was originally named Luz – The Almond Tree, or The Early Riser.
There are a variety of almond trees. The bitter almond was used for its oil, but the almond itself from young trees was sweet and used for desserts. Jacob most probably took the oil from the bitter almond and poured it over the top of the monument he set up.
The Almond Tree was also called “Firstfruit” because of its early rising or first awakening.
Jacob arose early, and found himself in the city of “Early Riser” only to rename it “House of God” when he encountered the Lord. The first thing he does is to pour the bitter part as a dedication and memorial in honor of the House of God.
He offers the bitter as firstfruit.
Genesis 28:16 And Jacob awoke from his sleep and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it.
Christ Himself was a firstfruit offering. The bitter firstfruit offering of the Cross in dedication of what is to come. A Dwelling Place for the Lord.
The bitter comes first, and then the sweet.
And so too, our journey with Him. We give Him our bitter parts and it is as oil poured upon the place He dwells. Each day is as oil poured upon Him and becomes a sacred place of meeting (and we don’t even know it, as Jacob did not even know it).
Genesis 28: 22 And this stone which I have set up as a pillar (monument) shall be God’s house [a sacred place to me], and of all [the increase of possessions] that You give me I will give the tenth to You.