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The Four Altars of Abraham (1 of 34)
Series: Bible Oases: Spiritual Refreshment from Unlikely Places
This text introduces two men who began a journey together. They had a common goal but unfortunately were separated from the one another. One climbed a mountain to a place where the atmosphere was clean and pure, where vision was unlimited. His companion descended into the plains of Sodom where opportunities for a successful business career appeared to be excellent. The land was productive; cattle were fat, and laughter echoed from the nearby city. Sodom was an attractive place for people who ignored pollution.
Even poor folk could become rich if they were willing to destroy their souls. Abram and his nephew looked at the well-watered plains of Sodom, but increasing strife necessitated a separation of the two men. "And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where.... Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east; and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom" (Gen. 13:10-12).
One detail explained the difference between the two men. Abram loved to erect altars; Lot did not. Possibly he had occasionally knelt at his uncle's altar, but he never built one of his own. Abram looked toward heaven; Lot looked toward the cities of the plain. The older man was thrilled by the grace of God; his nephew was influenced by greed and ambition and became the wealthiest pauper of his generation. These men could belong to any family, church, or community and be business associates or intimate friends. Yet they might be very different from each other. The man who kneels daily at an altar cannot be far away from God. Anyone who is too busy to pray walks on a dangerous highway. Abram built four altars which represented stages of spiritual growth.
The Altar ...
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