The altar – a place of praise and worship and thanksgiving.

From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier and where he had first built an altar. – Genesis 13:3-4

Abram and Lot and all their families, workers, and livestock traveled from the south of Canaan in the Negev desert to the area of Bethel, where he’d built his first altar in Canaan. He stayed there for a while before he and his nephew parted company because their herds and flocks were too large to graze together. The land could not sustain both parties. Other times in his sojourning through Canaan Abram built other altars to give thanks and offer sacrifices to the LORD most high.

The altar was the one place where people sacrificed their belongings in order to pay homage and debt to the LORD either for remission of sins or an offering in peace of thanksgiving. The altar caused people to bow low before the LORD and recognize his sovereignty and provision. Even the apostle Paul taught us to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice upon the altar of love. Even though we don’t build altars to offer animal blood to atone for our sins, because Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for such, we do need to build an altar upon our hearts where we offer up ourselves daily to our LORD and thereby humble ourselves in recognition of his love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and compassion – none of which we deserve. Our hearts need to be a place of worship, praise, and gratitude to the Creator and King of the universe, who loved us enough to die for us while we were yet sinners, lives in us now to empower us to live the life he wants us to live, and chose us to be his children. There is so much to be thankful for toward God, so let our lives be living proof of our love, adoration, worship, and praise to him.

Father, thank you for everything and anything in my life. Your word states that every good AND perfect gift comes down from heaven from You, the Father of lights. It is so easy to find something and anything to complain about and mope around like a sour-faced child, who didn’t get what was wanted. Nay, I want to be that grateful child that looks at you and grins from ear to ear because I know that I get to spend eternity with you! What more can a person truly desire than to be loved and wanted by the very Creator of the universe and LORD and Master and Father and Prince of Peace and Wonderful One! I am just grateful to be yours. Let my life be a living testimony of the praise and worship that is my life. May others see the God in me and not me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.