Three Altars of Love. The awareness of God. Our growth in Him.
Abraham built three alters in three different places. These altars represent “Divine Consciousness.” The awareness of God. It shows our growth in Him – our ability to trust in Him and to abandon our selfhood of thinking we know best for our lives. It shows a progression to the Divine Awareness of God.
Let’s take a look at those three altars.
Genesis 12:1 – “The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” (NIV)
It is important to note that God did not tell Abraham where he was going, only that he was to go. Abraham is known for his faithfulness towards God. He was obedient.
So Abraham, packed up everything and set out for a new land. This new land would be known as the Promise Land. After travelling, Abraham arrives at the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem, and God appears to him and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” Genesis 12:6
So Abraham builds an altar to the Lord there. Abraham gives thanks for two promises: the promise of children and the promise of land. This is an altar built for thanksgiving. A prayer of thanksgiving.
From there Abraham moved on – “From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.” (NIV) Genesis 12:8
Have you ever called on the name of the Lord? It represents a deeper relationship with God.
In a good Commentary, Rashi, it states, “And there he built an altar: He prophesied that his sons were destined to stumble there because of the iniquity of Achan, and he prayed there for them.”
Achan was known as the “trouble maker of Israel and his breaking away from God. You can read about him in Joshua 7.
So Abraham built an altar and called on the name of the Lord. In this second level of ascending to God, this altar represented the acknowledgement of the Divine Gift of Repentance, a deeper relationship with God in order to restore it after sinning. We acknowledge our sins and move back even closer to God.
As Abraham moves on with his family, he is forced to go to Egypt because of a famine. He goes faithfully to this land, knowing that there will be a return to the Promise Land. God had told him that before. And he does return to Canaan, the Promise Land. And it is in Hebron that Abraham builds the third altar. Genesis 13 tells more of the story of his travels.
This third altar was for nothing more than to just glorify the Lord.
To the Jewish people these three altars represent three levels to ascend to God in our relationship with Him:
- Thanksgiving for provision, for children, and for land to live in
- Acknowledge the Divine Gift of Repentance – representing a deeper relationship with God
- Desiring nothing but taking the opportunity to just glorify God
As a child of God’s, I love to look at the Jewish history and discover more about Him. I love looking at these thoughts given in regards to the three altars of love as it is called by many in the Jewish history books.
Have you ever doubted God and even walked away from Him for awhile? It happens to most of us and that is why the step of “repentance” means so much. It gives us the opportunity to return to Him and ask for forgiveness. God is always faithful and just to forgive us.
1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (NIV)
That is a promise to His children. God is true to His Word.
Call upon the Lord today. Whether it is for thanksgiving, for repentance, or just to glorify His Name. Call upon the Lord.
Heavenly Father, what a blessing to know that I can come and call out – call upon the name of the Lord. May my heart always be filled with thanksgiving, with repentance, and at times to just praise and glorify your name. I love you, Lord. I ask this in Christ Jesus’ name, amen.