He Built an Altar There (Genesis 12:8)

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Altars are everywhere in the New Testament.

Not the bad altars — the kind that people built to idols (although those are there too).

I’m talking about altars of remembrance. The ones that people built because they wanted to remember a certain event in their life. Usually, they also wanted their ancestors to remember it as well.

So how come we don’t built them anymore?

We Still Build Altars

In a sense, altars are still a part of our everyday life. We erect monuments on famous battle sites or put up signs at historical markers. All in a bid to remember the past and what significance a piece of dirt has to us.

The goal is not to simply commemorate these locations though, but to remember them. And learn from them.

That’s part of what the Passover was all about. In Exodus 12:26, God told the Israelites to anticipate questions about why they took the Passover every single year. 

“It is a Passover sacrifice to the Lord who passed over the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians but spared our homes.”

Every year, they remembered God’s blessings, just like every time Abraham (and his ancestors) passed by the altar, they remembered what God did for him.

We Should Still Build Altars

Altars require intentionality. We can’t just hope people remember things. Humans need visual reminders of certain events that should be important to them, or else they’ll be easily forgotten.

It’s no coincidence then that every first day of the week, we’re supposed to gather together to take the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7).

When we eat it, we remember Jesus’ sacrifice — the most amazing blessing of all.