We might feel challenged to ‘find Jesus’ in our Christmas season, but this is not a new challenge. In reading the ‘Book of Beginnings’, Genesis 12: 1-8, we can see Abram and a bit of his world and how he went about ‘keeping the main thing the main thing’ so to speak.
First, God spoke to Abram and gave him ‘somewhat’ clear instructions to “Get out” of his own country, (Gen. 12:1) and to go to “a land that I will show you.” And the LORD went on to tell him, …“and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen. 12:3).
Abram received from the LORD direction and promise and blessing. How glorious! The Living Bible says, “and the entire world will be blessed because of you.”(Gen. 12:3). God’s word reveals the Savior spoken of in Gen. 3:15 – the ‘Seed of the woman that would crush the head of the ‘seed of the serpent!’
What did Abram do after receiving so much promise from the Lord?
Abram obeyed the LORD, and ‘went’ to the land of Canaan. “And the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants,” (or ‘seed’-once again we see the ‘seed of the woman’, those who seek to follow God), “to your descendants, I will give this land.” (Gen. 12:7). (God tells us who the land belongs to right here, the nation of Israel, however to this day there is continual fighting about borders and boundaries.)
Anyway, you and I have been given direction and promise and blessing from the Lord. Scriptures like,“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” remind us that ‘in Him’ we have direction, and in John 10:27, we are not only given direction, but promise and blessing: “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.”John 14:6.
So Abram obeyed, but he did something we need to remember, take note of, and ‘follow’ after – AND it is recorded that he did this something again, even in the next verse. I think these two verses will help us ‘find our Jesus’ in the crazy of Christmas.
In Gen. 12:7, you can almost miss it because it comes after that amazing promise that all the land belongs to him, but after the promise we read: “…And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.”
Abram didn’t just ‘talk to God’, he ‘built an altar to the LORD’. What does that mean in this day? What does this mean to me in this busy day where there is very little time, and Christmas is coming, and there is so much ‘other stuff’ to focus on?
So, while we think about what all this might mean for you and for me, the very next verse shows the same struggle of being surrounded by ‘stuff’ and trying to keep focus on God – but Abraham will lead us well by his example:
(Gen. 12:8), And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, (which means, ‘House of God’),and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai, (which means ‘heap’ or ‘dump’) on the east; there he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD.”
Abram was between ‘the House of God’ so to speak and a ‘heap!’ And it is “THERE that he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD.” Right in the middle of it all, the word says that Abram pitched his tent with Bethel, the ‘house of God’ and we know that “Abram believed God”(Romans 4:3), and that is why he was a righteous man,
but I can see also, just how ‘right’ it was that he built an altar to the LORD and to call on His name. The LORD was all He had at this point. Abram worshiped the One who called him instead of looking in a lot of directions. He pitched his tent with Bethel and there he built an altar to the LORD! Faith is not trying to figure it all out!
You see, he had to gather stones in order to build an altar. And today, you and I can ‘build an altar’ and pick up and gather up all those wonderful stones of remembrance. We can remember God’s amazing love with which He loves us. Offering the greatest sacrifice ever given, in giving His one and only Son for each of us that we might have life.
No more excuses! We must pitch our tent with Bethel, between everything else,and make our lives an offering for Him. For the sake of the children. We’ve got to seek those stones of remembrance and collect them and talk about them to our children. At any cost, we have to search for that missing ‘Cornerstone’ that to some is a ‘stone of stumbling’ and a ‘stone of offense’ (1 Peter 2:5).
It takes time to build an altar and worship the Lord. Perhaps if we spend time gathering thoughts of the precious stones of mercy and forgiveness that we obtained from the Lord and take time to think of the blessings of His love, and even hear Him say, “I love you with an everlasting love”, (Jer). then perhaps Jesus- will shine through the, somewhat simple gifts we give at Christmas.
Today, may we gather our stones of remembrance and build an altar of love to our LORD and be overwhelmed by the love that He has poured out on us, and His protection and blessing – not on the stress of ‘gift giving’!
We have found our Love. O come let us adore Him… “Lord, we offer you our broken hearts, our weary bodies, and our stress. We come to You – “as to a living stone;
rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God… and precious”, (1 Peter 2:4). We choose to ‘build an altar’ and worship You.