01/08/18 Building an Altar

READING: Genesis 12-13

“. . . where he built an altar to the Lord.”

Genesis 13:18

Pam and I have moved several times over the course of our 26+ year marriage. Moves are almost always a bit chaotic, and they can be challenges to your spiritual walk—even when you know you’re moving to follow the Lord’s will. If you don’t keep your eyes on God, you can easily get distracted by the stress of a move.

Abram, a patriarch of the Old Testament, moved locations more than once. He moved in accordance with God’s plan to lead him to a “land that I [the Lord] will show you” (Gen. 12:1). When he settled in the territory east of Bethel, “he built an altar to the Lord there, and he called on the name of the Lord” (Gen. 12:8). He sojourned in Egypt for a time when he went there during a famine, later returned to the place where he had first built an altar, and called on the name of Lord again (Gen. 13:4). When he moved to Hebron some time later, he again “built an altar to the Lord” (Gen. 13:18).

Setting up these altars expressed Abram’s faith in God and prioritized the worship of Yahweh in Abram’s life. Interestingly, the one place where we have no record of his establishing an altar—Egypt—was also the place where Abram’s lying led to trouble with Pharaoh. We can’t reach cause-effect conclusions based on silence, but this truth remains evident: where there is no worship, sin’s trap becomes that much more powerful.

Personal and family worship matters wherever we live. Indeed, prioritizing God should be one of the first steps we take when we settle in any area. 


  • Make sure you are prioritizing worship in your life.
  • If your family has not settled on a place of worship where you live, ask God to clarify His will for you.

PRAYER: “God, I want to worship You wherever I live. I commit myself to calling on Your name.”