‘And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.’ Genesis 12:7
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Hebrews 13:9–16
Abraham erected an altar. This shows:
(i) his faith—in the great sacrifice, the virtue of which was set forth by all the sacrifices before under the law.
(ii) his gratitude. When God had appeared to him and given him such promises, immediately he raises an altar. Who is there amongst you, upon whom the Lord has lately shone? Has he answered your prayers, prevented your fears, taken off your sackcloth and girded you with gladness? O say, the vows of God are upon me [Psalm 56:12]. O may your heart be as an altar upon which the sacrifice of praise is continually offered [Hebrews 13:15].
(iii) his profession. He was among a people that knew not God, but he was not so affected by the custom of the country as to be ashamed or afraid to have it publicly known that he worshipped the Lord. Everything that looks like ostentation should be avoided, but if the Lord has called us out of darkness into light, we should not be unwilling to be marked and known by our neighbours and friends as those who have given themselves to him.
FOR MEDITATION: The points of his public profession of religion from which I think he cannot warrantably recede, are such as these: he will say with Joshua, or his example and conduct will say it for him, As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. He will neither be afraid nor ashamed to have it publicly supposed or known that he worships God, in his closet, and (allowing for unavoidable interruptions) in his family; and that so far as his example, persuasion and authority can influence, he will endeavour that all who live under his roof shall be restrained from evil, and taught and encouraged to serve the Lord with him.
John Newton to William Wilberforce, 1 November 1787
[responding with advice on embarking on the abolition of the slave trade]
SERMON SERIES: GENESIS, NO. 24 [3/4], GENESIS 12:7