Summary: Abram builds alters for God and demonstrates to us what is true worship.
• Many years ago, a very poor holy man lived in distant country. He became known for his devotion to God. Every day before his time of meditation, in order to show his devotion, he put a dish of butter up on the window sill as an offering to God, since food was so scarce and butter was expensive. One day his cat came in and ate the butter. To remedy this, he began tying the cat to the bedpost each day during his quiet time. This man was so respected for his commitment to God that others joined him as disciples and worshipped as he did. Generations later, long after this holy man was dead, his followers placed an offering of inexpensive margerine on the window sill during their time of prayer and meditation. Furthermore, each one bought a cat so they too could tie one to the bedpost during their quiet times.
Gen 12:6-8 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 Then 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. 8 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.
• What a wonderful worship experience for Abram.
• Here is one who came out of idolatry and followed God.
• God said, “Pack up your family and just get going. I will show you where to go.”
• And Abram obeyed. As a result, God now appears to him.
• What does that mean?
• We are not certain how God appeared to him, since we are told that no one has seen the Father but the Son. (John 6:46 and other places).
• However, we are convinced that God appeared to several people in the Old Testament through His Son.
• So maybe this is a Christophany, an appearance of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament.
• We know this, this is the first time God revealed himself in any real way to mankind since Adam.
• Why Abram? He was an idolater. Why was he worthy of such a calling, and an appearance by God?
• This I can assure you; Abram didn’t do anything to deserve it. It was grace.
• God chose Abram, Abram didn’t choose God.
• Gordon Runyan points out that Abram responded to God’s call, and God’s appearance, by building an altar, not a bicycle built for two.
• God didn’t offer to be Abram’s copilot. He became Abram’s all-in-all.
• God had drawn near in an incredible way. But Abram didn’t then go on to mess up the defining characteristics of their relationship. God remained God, and Abram remained his lowly servant. God remained the LORD, the king of all the earth, while Abram scrounged around on the earth looking for materials with which to build an altar. God has drawn near to us in Christ, who took on human flesh and became one of us for the sake of saving us. (Runyan). We are not in a position to redefine God’s plan or relationship with us.