Day Four: Abram (Pt. 4)
Written by Pastor Steve
The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants” And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the Lord, who had appeared to him. After that, Abram travelled south and set up camp in the hill country, with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built another altar and dedicated it to the Lord, and he worshipped the Lord. (Genesis 12:7-9 NLT)
I’m going to stop here after 4 devotions on Abram (though I’d love to continue). God called Abram to leave everything and come follow Him into an uncertain future. He arrives in Shechem, and God promises Him that this land will one day belong to your descendants. Abram has a lot of things – but he doesn’t have descendants. The only thing that people of faith can hold onto, especially in uncertain times, is the promises of God. And that’s all that Abram has got now too.
We shouldn’t miss this point – Abram commences the nation-building project by building two small altars, one in Shechem and one in the hill country. He cannot control the future, but he can stop and be in God’s presence today. The altar is a place where Abram can sit with God, be still, worship and pray. In years to come, the altar would be a place Abram could remind his descendants of God’s never-ending faithfulness. Time at the altar is all-important.
I’m sure this concept has many applications in terms of the church seeking God, praying and more, it also begins with each of us individually. We’ve each got to establish the altar this year – creating space for you to connect with God. It’s a time when you reset your priorities and actions. It’s a place of worship, prayer, bible reading, stillness and reflection. It’s also a place to leave behind the cares and concerns of our world, along with the distractions.
I think Abram’s times at the altar are formative for him, even at an older age. He realises that without building the altar and remaining focused on God, his world will fall apart. The challenges of today and worries of tomorrow are too big without the altar. If you read on, the altar is a place that he comes back to. Abram needs to treasure these moments with God. The responsibility for daily time at the altar is his alone.
Question to Ponder: What sort of time and locations (like an altar) are you building into your life to connect with God this year? Where is this place for you? What things do you take with you and what distractions do you need to leave behind?
Note: if you’re struggling with this, please talk to one of the pastors or someone that you know so we can encourage you…