Gen. 12 – Build An Altar
Dear family and friends Genesis 12 shares about Abraham building an altar to call in The Name of The Lord. Two words sparked my curiosity.The Words ‘Built an Altar.’ The first Word is מִזְבֵּחַ Meez Bay Ach – meaning Altar. – The Altar is a place of Holiness, a place of communicating with The Lord, a place for offering Tributes and Sacrifices, A place of calling in The Name of The Lord, a place of praise, worship, comfort and much more. An altar is a place of sanctuary and life. An altar is a place for where repentant sinners may seek forgiveness.
The Holy Scriptures Speak of Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who each built an altar. Their intent, for the most part, was to select a location, a place to build a sanctuary and to have communication with The Lord. I like the message that our forefathers were concerned about communication with The Lord. They wanted the Holy Altar to be a place their children could turn towards.
The second word is וַיִּבֶן Vah Yee Vehn – meaning And he built. What materials did he use? Did he carry materials with him? Did he send away for the materials? Were materials abundantly available in that location? The materials are important, but building the altar is the point. There are external altars and internal altars. Abraham built an external altar. However, Abraham first cultivated and established the internal altar.
Jewish tradition teaches that Father Abraham established the morning prayers, Father Isaac The late afternoon prayers and Father Jacob the evening prayers. These are the three times Observant Jews pray each day. One is not required to pray just at these times. Sometimes I pray at unique times like: 12:12, 11:11, 10:10, 5:55, 4:44, 3:33, 2:22 and at 1:11. I may be rushing in through the day and entangled with responsibilities when the clock hits a special number. It’s fabulous and wonderful to mentally take a break to offer a few internal prayers. I may call your name in prayer and bless you and those you love. Perhaps my prayer is for The Holy City of Jerusalem or the land of Israel or B’nai Yisroel.
Thank God! Throughout my life I have dwelt among praying people. My father of blessed memory, always had a sanctified place in his home. Mama did as well. Daddy had a special place for prayer sitting next to his easy chair. It was a tiny old fashion padded footstool with his Bible sitting on top. That is where Daddy prayed. Revi has a similar footstool with her Bible sitting on it just like Daddy did.
In past times before Coronado Island was developed. I used pray along the shoreline in the mid of night. Sometimes I walked the rugged shoreline behind the Long Beach Serviceman’s Center when it was undeveloped land. Today, a Marina sits in my prayer place in Long Beach Harbor. I used to pray in the forests of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. There was a huge rock that stood like a stender / a tall stand used for open prayer books. I laid my prayer books on it when praying.
A dear brother, J D Shatswell and I served together aboard a huge oil tanker. Our place of prayer was either the ships cooler, freezer, dry storage locker in the ships focsile, i.e. the front of the ship.
Building an altar and praying in The Name of The Lord was significant to Abraham. He loved The Lord and wanted to express that.
Do you have a special place of prayer? Do you have an altar? Is there a special place where you go to talk with The Lord? Often our dining room table is the altar in our home. We also have special places in our Library.
Genesis 12.7 – 8
And The Lord appeared to Abram, and said, To your seed will I give this land; and there he built an altar to The Lord, who appeared to him. And he moved from there to a mountain in the east of Beth-El, and pitched his tent, having Beth-El on the west, and Hai on the east; and there he built an altar to The Lord, and called in The Name of The Lord.
Jewish commentaries share the location from which The Lord God took the dust of the ground to form Adam and Eve. The first parents were taken from the ground where the future altar of The Holy Temple would sit in Israel, in Jerusalem, in the Holy Temple area. In part, that is why we face the east when praying. Yet, God listens to our prayers regardless of the direction we face.
Dear Ones, it is especially wonderful to know that The Lord God Makes Himself available to listen to our every prayer! Our prayers make a difference!! Our prayers can impact people, places,and many things.. A single prayer can travel the universe. The power of our prayer is great so we should be careful with what we say.
May we stay within Torah’s Guidelines of righteous living and repentance. May we help others, May we bring peace and healing to our world. May this coming Sabbath and every Sabbath be a blessed Day.
Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk