‘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: Ruth 1:1–18
Abraham had a family and therefore he had an altar. He was not content to pray in his closet, but worshipped God with his household. I remember my fault today. I have spoken too seldom and too faintly upon this topic—it is a very important point. Let me entreat you, as many as fear the Lord, to see to it that you set up an altar in your houses. Your children, your servants, if you have any, are entrusted to you for this end. How is Abraham commended on this account! I know him, says the Lord, that he will command his children and his household after him [Genesis 18:19]. Family mercies require family acknowledgement. If you would have obedient children and faithful servants and peace, the peace of God in your dwellings, live not without family prayer. The flesh will plead excuses, the devil will help to furnish them, but it is your duty and will be your honour and your blessing, and the neglect of it will prove like a thorn in your foot to make your progress in other things slow and painful. If you think yourself unable to lead prayer in a family, make use of a good [published] form rather than omit. Beginnings are always difficult, but if you simply look up to the Lord, he will strengthen and guide you.
FOR MEDITATION: [Newton’s three-year-old nephew holidayed with him in Olney. His mother later wrote:]
Soon after he came home to us, he asked why we had not prayer as often as at his uncle’s, and expressing his liking their way best. I think this early impression upon his mind of a holy life was, with God’s blessing, owing to their good example and instructions.
Elizabeth Cunningham (Mary Newton’s sister)
SERMON SERIES: GENESIS, NO. 24 [4/4], GENESIS 12:7