How Altars Alter Us

“The Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you…’

“So Abram…departed from Haran, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram… took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and… they set out… When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to Shechem, to the oak of Moreh… The Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land.’ So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord. And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb.

“Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. He journeyed on as far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, where he had made an altar at the first. And there Abram called upon the name of the Lord…

“Then Abram said to Lot, ‘Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left. 

“The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, ‘Lift up your eyes and look… northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.’  So Abram moved his tent and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord.” Genesis 12:1,4-9; 13:2-4,8-9,14-18

Abram’s journey to and within Canaan was marked by altars which he built and where he met with God. From first embarking in faith, over hills, through lands, and onto new vistas, from challenge and strife to peace and resolution, each was established in thankfulness and trust, and became a hallowed place of close communion and communication about next steps. All friendships are so populated. (Isaiah 41:8)

Every morning we begin a fresh journey, leaving behind the Haran of yesterday and entering the unknown of today. How do we set off? What is our mindset? Do we plow forward with enthusiastic energy, but aimless? Or would we commit our zeal to the Lord and say, ‘Alter me, lead me’? A life of faith is a great adventure that renews each day, with open ears and hearts, at the altar of God. (Proverbs 27:1; James 4:13-15)

How am I marking my earthly sojourn to commemorate God’s faithfulness, my devotion, and dependence on His grace and direction?

Lord, establish altars of meeting and worship along my days and life paths. May I set You ever before me to know Your way and abide with joy in Your presence. (Psalm 16:8-11)

One thought on “How Altars Alter Us”

  1. This was a great reminder for me today, Pam. I want to better mark each day to better commemorate God’s faithfulness and goodness.

    Hoping you’re getting some respite after a very busy season! I’m in the midst of a busy season at Apostles as we decide on Fellows applications for next year and two possible new staff members. All good things!

    Love you,




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: