Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
There are several accounts in the book of Genesis were Abraham moved to a new area, or God did a remarkable thing, and his response was to build an altar.
For Abraham, an altar was simply a pile of rocks in which a fire was kindled and an innocent animal sacrificed on. It is a constant reminder of God’s provision of forgiveness. It was a precursor to the innocent sacrifice of the coming Christ.
The altar was a place to remember, to worship, and to sacrifice to God for his goodness. It was a place that could be returned to, which Abraham and his descendants did many times to remind them of the promise made, or the victory won, or the dream given, etc.
Quite possibly a visitor to the camp would see the pile of rocks and wonder why this God wanted it so simple: why not elaborate temples, towering monuments, statues, etc?
As we go to our houses of worship today, may we remember that it is the sacrifice He made which opened the door for our fellowship with him, not the elaborate edifice erected.
I’m so glad my Father in Heaven did the work, because I know I could even mess up putting a pile of rocks together.