As Jacob traveled to Padan-aram to live with his uncle, he had a dream in which the Lord renewed the promise He had made to Jacob’s father and grandfather. Waking the next morning, Jacob built a stone pillar and poured oil on it as a form of worship. (See Genesis 28:18.)
Years later, after Jacob returned home, God appeared to him, reaffirmed the covenant, and changed his name to Israel. In response, Jacob built another pillar and again poured oil on it, which the author of Genesis called “a drink offering.” (See Genesis 35:14.)
In the Law of Moses, one form of sacrifice was a drink offering (See particularly Numbers 28, 29.) Pouring a liquid as a form of worship could have at least two meanings: It could represent our gratitude for the blessings God has so generously given us. It could also represent our willingness to consecrate ourselves to Him, holding nothing back:
- King David encouraged his people, “Pour out your heart before [God]” (Psalm 62:8).
- Enos tells us that he “did pour out [his] whole soul unto God” on behalf of his people (Enos 1:9).
- Alma, Ammon, Captain Moroni, Helaman, Nephi, and Mormon all poured out their souls in prayer. (See Mosiah 24:12, 21, Mosiah 26:14, Alma 19:14, Alma 46:17, Alma 58:10, Helaman 7:11, 14, Mormon 3:12.)
- Amulek taught the Zoramites, “Ye must pour out your souls [to God] in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness” (Alma 34:26).
And as we pour ourselves out to God, He promises to pour out blessings to us:
- Joel prophesied that, in a future time, the Lord would “pour out [His] spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28).
- Malachi promised that if the people would bring their tithes and offerings to God, He would “open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10).
- Multiple Book of Mormon prophets expressed gratitude when God poured out His Spirit upon the people, including King Benjamin (Mosiah 4:20), Alma (Mosiah 25:24), Alma and Amulek (Alma 16:16, 21), Ammon (Alma 19:14, 36), and Helaman (Helaman 3:25).
- In the dedicatory prayer for the Kirtland Temple, Joseph Smith referenced “the blessings which thou hast ordained to be poured out upon those who shall reverence thee in thy house” (Doctrine and Covenants 109:21). One week later, the Savior appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in that building and said:
The hearts of thousands and tens of thousands shall greatly rejoice in consequence of the blessings which shall be poured out, and the endowment with which my servants have been endowed in this house.Doctrine and Covenants 110:9
Today, I will remember the imagery of the drink offering. As I pray, I will follow Amulek’s admonition to pour out my soul to God, holding nothing back. As I participate in general conference, I will remember that He is eager to pour out blessings upon me, including His Spirit.