And he journeyed on from the Negeb as far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, 4 to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there Abram called upon the name of the Lord. (Gen. 12: 7)
Abram was on a journey, with an unknown destination and a promise: ” Go… and I will show you.”
And Abram went. He left. He sojourned. He fielded all the doubting questions. He walked the silent paths. And he was shown… but…
” 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.” (Gen. 13:2-5)
He got a glimpse into his offspring’s future. A beautiful land. A promise from God to be memorialized. But there were still no offspring running amuck at his feet.
“Now where, Lord? Where does the dream begin?” And so he kept traveling. He kept believing. “My name is Abram, “exalted father” … I will believe.”
But roads get dusty. Feet and hearts get crusty. Sometimes you just have. to . hear. another. word.
So he traveled back to the place he had heard the Lord. The altar he had built to remember. The thanksgiving altar. The “on my face, what an amazing God you are… and . I. WILL. remember.” altar.
… and he called upon the name of the Lord.
It took Abram “exalted father” 24 years of sojourning to become Abraham “father of a great multitude.” That’s a lot of dust, and crust and hard-earned lessons learned.
I look our fast food culture and have to wonder…we don’t have the first clue to being patient with God and with ourselves.
I’ve built altars to God along the way. Figuratively and literally. There are some beaches in Tahoe that God has met me, and nothing seemed more fitting than rocks, un-tooled by man, built up toward a God in heaven that saw fit to reach down to me in my crying out.
I need these altars. My soul’s wailing walls, and war memorials and Crossing the Red Sea realities that say, “God was here. He met me. And He will be here again for me. Always.”
I can sojourn on.
Father, your word is full of promises. Promises, like hidden treasures, waiting to be found and unwrapped and offered back to you on altars of thanksgiving. Thank you for these places you’ve met me, Lord, those places where nothing else made sense, except You and your word to me. And, Jesus, I could use some help me to always remember these Life’s road altars, and even more so as my memory grows old…Thanks.