Posted by: pmarkrobb | January 12, 2012

altar-ation

Even though our reading for today finds us in Isaiah, my thoughts tonight are reflecting back to the beginning of this week and Genesis chapter 12.  Since Monday, the Spirit has been echoing something that was introduced in one of our posts a little over two years ago.  Back then, the inspiration was from the book of Joshua, but as I read and re-read the words of Genesis 12, the Spirit began its renewing work. 

What I am referring to was an encouragement to consider dusting off the ancient practice of “piling up stones” as markers on our journey.  Just as Joshua was obedient to God’s call in chapter 4, verses 1-3 of the book that bears his name, Genesis 12 finds Abram piling up stones as God brought him into the land of Canaan.  On two separate occasions where Abram stopped and made camp, he built an altar and oriented himself towards God in prayer and worship. 

It began to make me think of how often I have stopped on my journey since writing that post back in December of 2009, and piled up stones as a marker.  I went back and read the post, and was reminded of the truths that can so rightly and richly re-orient myself in the direction of the journey map maker.  But another thing happened during that reminder.  The Spirit began to reveal that although the raw materials may be similar, I and my journey are not in the same place they were in December of 2009.  God’s truth is eternal, but is He simply restating and reminding, or is He also weaving in new threads of truth?

My mind and heart began to wander from the pile of stones to the specific form that is mentioned in chapter 12.  Abram didn’t make a marker, he built an altar.  Both can properly orient you in the direction of the journey map maker, but they are two very different forms.  I intend to go deeper on the form of the altar in my own personal study, but for now let me suggest that this ancient practice can be as fresh today as it was in the days of Abram. 

As God leads us into, and through the lands he has intended for our blessing and growth, let us remember to stop and build an altar.  It begins with the simple, yet profound recognition of the author of our journey.  But continues on to be a place of confession, submission, question, prayer and worship.

I’d invite you to read the “piling up stones” post from December 2009.  For some who have joined our journey more recently, it will be new.  To our seasoned journey companions, does it remind you of where you were with God back then?  Whatever your station, let this be an encouragement to pile up stones as markers on your journey, and make a journey altar-ation and build altars as God brings you into, and through new lands. 


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