Building Altars and Pitching Tents

In Genesis 12,

God calls Abram.

And off Abram goes.

His wife and nephew go too.

There’s not a lot of details added to this story.

And in these moments, I find myself asking all kinds of questions.

Did Sarai want to go?

Did Lot have a choice?

Lot’s father had died, but where was his mom?

God must feel a lot like Tim feels when he watches a movie with me.

I can almost hear God saying,

“Shhhhh……Just keep reading.”

 I have to believe the answers aren’t here

because they wouldn’t change the purpose of this part of history.

And the purpose is simple.

“God speaks and those who love Him listen.”

When Abram and his family arrive at the place God will eventually make theirs,

Abram builds an altar.

Wasn’t this a common occurrence at this time in history?

Weren’t even false gods shown reverence in this way?

Maybe the building of the altar isn’t as important as the One he chose to build the altar for.

Abram knows Who brought him to this place.

He had heard his voice.

And Abram’s altar is built for Him and Him alone.

The God who speaks.

That’s the One he chooses to worship.

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Am I any different today?

I still build altars.

Place my focus on something.

Or someone.

But isn’t it usually the voice that is loudest that grabs my attention?

Maybe that’s why God often seems to whisper.

He’s rarely demanding.

Wanting me to choose for myself the direction of my ear.

And be still enough to hear Him.

And remember.

He’s the one who brought me here.

To this place.

To this day.

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Abram wants to remember Who is leading him and his family too.

Along the way, He stops to build other altars.

Places where he pauses to call on the name of the Lord.

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What if every time I prayed,

I could envision the building of a structure –

aimed at Heaven.

And the sacrifice would be me.

My time.

My energy.

My thoughts.

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As the story moves along,

Abram finds himself in a famine

that pushes him away from the land of his altars.

It’s no surprise that the further he travels from his physical reminders of God’s presence,

the further he seems from God’s will.

He lies.

He compromises his marriage.

And eventually he gives his nephew a choice……

choose right or choose left.

Does he talk any of these decisions over with the One who had sent him on this journey?

Does he ever pause to build an altar when food seems scarce?

Or when resources begin to overflow in overwhelming amounts?

__________________________

Am I any different today?

Acting quickly in times of desperation.

And independently in times of abundance.

Justifying every decision along the way.

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Am I any different today?

This is the question I found myself asking over and over again this morning.

So when Lot chose to pitch his tent near Sodom,

no wonder I winced.

I can easily see what Lot doesn’t yet know.

His tent is near danger.

How many times do I pitch my own tent without considering the cost?

 Do not be deceived: 

“Evil company corrupts good habits.”

I Cor. 15:33

No matter how I feel about the coming destruction of this city,

it’s going to happen.

And unless I want to remove chapters from the Bible

or ignore Scripture completely,

I have to admit that God’s patience has a limit.

And pitching my tent near anything that will push Him too far is risky.

So what will I do with my reading this morning?

Will I build more altars to the One who brought me here?

And pitch my tents closer to Him too?

I hope so.

Thousand of years have passed since Abram walked on the earth,

but very little has changed.

God still speaks.

Altars are still built.

Tents are still pitched.

Life still marches on.

And the choices we make are still up to us.

Lord, my Hope is in you.

Ps. 39:7

Help my actions prove my words.

And show Your faithfulness.

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