May 04, 2013

The Altar

Genesis 12:1-9

There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD.
—Genesis 12:8


When I was in southeast Asia on pastoral visits with our Youth with a Mission (YWAM) teams, I stayed in hotels and homes that had altars set up for Buddha. People burned incense and food sacrifices on them as a way to honor their gods and their ancestors.

Using altars and sacrifices (offerings) goes back to the earliest times in human history (Genesis 4:3-5). What’s important, however, is that we worship the one true God—and with the right attitude.

When God called Abram to leave his homeland, he obeyed in faith. Arriving at Shechem in the land of Canaan, Abram built an altar. Then he traveled toward Bethel, and he built another altar. The altar was his meeting place with God. There he took responsibility for his sin, and the door to heaven was open for communication with God. As Abram worshiped, he received promises and abundant blessings from the Lord.

For New Testament believers, the altar is the cross of Christ. Christ’s blood continues to wash the dirtiest of sinners clean and opens the gate of heaven. The danger is to neglect the altar and let sin go un-confessed, driving a wedge between us and God. When that happens, we find it difficult to hear God’s voice, and our love for him wanes. An active altar points toward the one true God, delights the heart of our Lord, and brings revelation and light into our lives.

Father, in Jesus’ name, help us to draw near to you with hearts full of faith, celebrating our relationship with you. Amen.

About the author — John Kuperus

Since he was young, John Kuperus has had a passion that everyone would know Jesus. Spreading the good news that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15) is very important to him. To be better equipped for missions, John attended Reformed Bible College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He applied these skills with marketplace evangelism in a business he started in Sussex, New Jersey. This calling continued to follow him, so John attended seminary and became a minister in the Christian Reformed Church, serving a church in Ontario for eight years. Currently he serves as a missionary for Youth with a Mission (YWAM). He witnesses Jesus changing lives as people walk out of the darkness into the light. John is married to Helen, and they have seven children.

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