The Altar

There he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the Lord.” Genesis 12:8

Before Abram was renamed Abraham, he was the recipient of a call of God upon his life. He was 75 years old, when he heard God tell him to abandon everything that was familiar to him.

“Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3

A call from God remains unanswered until it is obeyed. Faith feeds on obedience. Fear breathes new life into disobedience. The sacrifice of abandoning a familiar life often appears greater than the blessing of the faith life. Appearances can be deceiving. A great leap of faith is simply the first step of obedience. Take it.

Five years ago, my wife, Dana, and I ventured into an unknown land. After discussing a step of faith for a year we finally obeyed God’s call to launch our prayer ministry. We call it TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!

Dana was the first to hear from God concerning this new adventure of faith. She was in the middle of a fight with cancer, and I was in the middle of a building program. She called her battle with cancer, her “Great Adventure.” I called the construction project everything but a child of God. You can easily see why she heard God’s call before I did. But I digress.

One night I was sitting at the kitchen table at my Dad’s home. He asked me, “What has God said to you about your prayer ministry?” I answered, “I believe He wants me to do it.” He said, “Have your resigned your church?” I said, “No.” He said, “When God speaks, you may want to think about being obedient.” Feeling like a 16 year old who had broken curfew, I could only say, “You’re right.” Long story short, I resigned my pastorate and five years later we are still on a journey of faith to share with people the simple message of TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!   

Abram’s first step of obedience was his greatest step of faith. Immediate obedience is the only way to respond to a call of God. Anything less is delayed obedience, and that is simply a clever synonym for disobedience. Don’t play word games with God. Pray and obey. There is no other way. Stop searching for it.

“So Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken to him…thus they came to the land of Canaan….The Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I will give this land.’ So he built an altar to the Lord who had appeared to him.”  V. 4-7

Continuous revival is nothing less than continued obedience. Expecting God to increase His blessing upon you or improve His communication with you while you are living in a state of rebellion with Him is a fool’s fantasy.

Abram obeyed God the first time he heard Him speak. Then he heard from God again. This should come as no surprise. God wants to communicate with you, more than you want to communicate with Him. Obedience removes any interference.

Nothing improves your hearing like obeying God the first time you hear Him speak to you. Waiting for a fresh word from God while breathing the stale air of disobedience will never refresh your soul or improve your hearing.

Abram continued on into the land and built another altar to the Lord. When God blessed Abram with the gift of the land of Israel, Scripture records, he called upon the name of The Lord in prayer.

“There he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord.” V. 8

The Altar consumes a sacrifice. It doesn’t magnify it. Grateful prayer expresses overwhelming gratitude for God’s blessing. It doesn’t whine about the cost of the sacrifice. Prayer abandons everything that looks valuable to you, in order to receive everything that is of value to God. Don’t change the price tags.

NOTE TO SELF: Plan A: Your immediate obedience creates a healthy climate of communication between you and God. Abandon all hope in Plan B. Obey God the first time you hear Him speak. Daily read His Word and you will hear from Him every day. Hearing from God requires a response. Studying and discussing His Word aren’t obedience. His Word is not merely a source of information. It is for inspiration and implementation. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!

“When God speaks, you may want to think about being obedient.” Don Miller