It is interesting to study the early stages of Abram’s pilgrimage for the Lord. One issue that seems pivotal to his spiritual progress was that of erecting altars. We read these verses:
- From there he went on towards the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord (Gen. 12:8)
- So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord. (Gen. 13:18).
The erecting of the alter indicated that Abram was acknowledging God in his life. It means that he was taking time to worship the Lord and call upon His Name. And as soon as he reached a new location he erected an altar. This all makes me think about whether I am erecting alters in my life. Are there times in my life when I am stopping to acknowledge the Lord and worship Him? If these times are a regular part of my life it will mean that when i go astray I will know where i need to go back to. If there is no altar I might just continue to wander off.
The fact that Abram had first alter when he entered the land of Canaan means that he had somewhere to get his spiritual bearings when he returned from his drifting away into Egypt. So we read in Genesis 13:3-4: From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the Lord. In any new situation it is vital that we erect an altar for the Lord. In particular when we move location we need to make sure we have a place of worship.
Further, we remember that altars are not built immediately. They have to be erected which requires a commitment in terms of time and resources. Am I committing my time and arranging my resources so that there are worship events in my life? Does my VISA bill / bank statement reveal that I am a worshiper of God? And what does my diary reveal about my inclination (or disinclination) to worship God?
Our places of stopping off to worship God should remind us of our corporate places of worship. Being a part of a church means we must give time to stop and worship the Lord. If you are a Christian and not”erecting your altar” with a group of God’s people then something is wrong.
But more than that we should have our personal “Quiet Time” where every day we can get our spiritual bearings. And then there is the family altar which should be erected in our families as we draw our families together for “family worship”.