Abraham’s Altars: A Visible Journal and Example to Us

(Photo of man with luggage beginning journey by Mantas Hesthaven from Pexels.)
(Photo by Mantas Hesthaven from Pexels.)

Ever been told what to do but not given the directions?

What if someone told you to sell your house, pack your belongings, and leave without any idea of where you were to go?

Abram received such a call.  The amazing thing is that he obeyed the call, sold his house and possessions, and started a journey not knowing where he went.

 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee. (Genesis 12:1)

Abram’s Call

God called Abram unto a place of which Abram did not know. God did not reveal the location to him, tell him a hotel room would be waiting, or what community services were available.  He only knew he had heard God’s voice speak to him.

Abram in obedience began the journey away from what was secure to him, away from family, and away from familiar places.  He had to trust that God knew what He was doing and where He was leading him. Because of his obedience God changed Abram’s name to Abraham.

Abraham’s Altar

In every place God spoke to him, Abraham took time to build an altar.  The altar was a visible reminder that he had heard God speak.

Whenever Abraham began to wander, he had a physical place to which he could return and remind himself of God’s voice.

As we read about Abraham’s journeys in Scripture, we find that Abraham returned at various times to the altars he had built so that he could commune with God and regain his focus.

In our journey thru life, we can and should build altars that remind us of where God has brought us from to where He is taking us.

Keeping mementos and collecting souvenirs of places we’ve been become more precious to us the longer we live.  The mementos bring back special memories tucked away in our hearts.  The souvenirs remind us of precious time spent with family and friends.

Scripture speaks of stirring up our minds by way of remembrance (2 Peter 3:1).  When and where did we hear God’s calling?  What caused us to start down the path we are taking?  How did we know this was the right job or the right school?  How do we know we are in God’s will at this moment?

A Remembrance of Important Events

Abraham’s building of altars was his way of keeping a remembrance of important events in his life.

Writing two letters was Apostle Peter’s way of reminding the recipients of the words the prophets had spoken and the commandments that the apostles had given to the early church.  Those letters are recorded in 1 and 2 Peter.

Building Personal Memorials

Today we build memorials to do the same.  But how do we build personal memorials so we do not forget the important events in our own lives?

The Scrapbook

Some people keep scrapbooks.

Saving ‘scraps’ of life whether it be placemats from restaurants, postcards and stamps, or photos of birthday parties and anniversaries, and attaching them to pages in a book provides people a way to look back over their lives.

Those ‘scraps’ bring to their remembrance what might have been forgotten if they had not taken the time to memorialize them.

Keeping mementos and recording events helps us to remember special times.
Keeping mementos and recording events helps us to remember special times. (Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels.)

The Journal

Keeping a journal is another way we can refresh our memories.  Writing down why we are doing this or that can be invaluable when we feel as if we are stuck in life.

Recording goals and noting when those goals are attained helps us see the progress we are making.

Prayers jotted down and answers received encourage us when we find ourselves in need of another answer to our prayers. The noting of scriptures that gave us light during difficult times serve as reminders of God’s presence.  Chronicling hard-learned lessons can prevent us from making the same mistakes again.

There are many types of journals, but in one respect they are all the same. They are a memorial of our lives lived daily.

Journals are a place we can return to when we forget where we are and a place where our remembrance can stir our minds to renew the plans God purposed for our lives.

A journal is a report card.  It shows us that God has been at work in our past and reminds us that He is still at work in our present.

Did your parents keep a scrapbook of your childhood?

Do you keep a journal?  If so, what type of journal do you keep?

In what way was Abraham’s building of altars like keeping a journal?

I encourage you to begin journaling your special moments if you have not done so.

How precious it would be to recall the words that you feel God has spoken to you when you find yourself needing to remember.  I am sure Abraham was glad he had a place to remind himself of God’s words.

©2018 by Peggy Clark