Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD. Genesis 12:8
This altar was built between Bethel (’House of God’) and Ai (’Ruins’). The point being…. Worshipping God and calling on His name in His House will keep our lives from ruin. Do you see the need? We need to worship together with our own families and with the family of God (The Church).
If we don’t have an altar of personal worship we will not be able to join in worship as a congregation. Some people do not attend anointed worship at Church because they have never learned to worship alone with God.
You hear of people blaming the worship leadership, the instruments, song selection, acoustics, or the order of worship. But in reality they really need to blame themselves for never having built their own altar of personal worship.
This is why I believe that each person who publicly participates in worship needs to be a personal worshiper. Too many times we see people get up in worship and seek to lead others in worship when we know they are not personal worshipers. This means they worship out of public service when no one else is looking.
I truly believe when we continue to worship at Bethel (the House of God), it will keep us from focusing upon Ai (I) our own problems.
Eventually, famine comes to everyone at some point in time. If we spiritualize the word “famine” it can mean the absence of something essential. There will be times when we think, “I’m lost or I’m losing everything and God is quiet.” It is at these points in life when we either turn to God and worship or turn inward to try and meet our own needs.
When famine came to Abraham, he initially lost faith in God and forsook Bethel (House of God). He took a long look at Ai (I). Abraham then went to Egypt (The World) and almost came to ruin (see Genesis 12:10-20) Only when he returned to the altar at Bethel did he get back on track. (Genesis 13:1-4).
There is only one source in life, the Lord God. Like many of us, Abraham collapsed under the pressure of the famine. Instead of remaining at the altar and trusting in God he fled to Egypt. We will talk about Abraham’s lying problem later but I want to emphasize the IMPORTANCE of remaining at God’s altar. The beautiful thing is that God did not cast him off but graciously received him again as he humbled himself before the original altar he built at Bethel.
Remember Abraham didn’t have to go back and give his life to God again at the altar of Moreh in Shechem. He just had to get right with God and start worshiping. Getting right with God doesn’t mean starting over from the beginning. God calls us to go back to the place where we made the wrong turn and begin again.