In a previous post we considered the altar that Noah built to Jehovah (link to post). We saw that Noah was a man who cared for God, but his descendants did not. Noah’s great-grandson, Nimrod, established the great city and kingdom of Babylon (Gen. 10:1, 6, 8, 10). Then, instead of exalting God, Nimrod’s descendants built the tower of Babel, whose top was “in the heavens” in order to “make a name” for themselves (11:1-4).
Building the tower of Babel was the culmination of mankind’s rebellion against God under Satan’s instigation (vv. 1-9). At Babel man followed Satan, opposed God, rejected His name in exchange for theirs, denied His authority and fell into idolatry. It was against this dark background that Abraham built his altar to Jehovah.
Genesis 12:6-7 says, “Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh… and Jehovah appeared to Abram and said, To your seed I will give this land. And there he built an altar to Jehovah who had appeared to him.” These verses are a record of God’s third appearing to Abraham and Abraham’s response to that appearing. God’s repeated appearing strengthened Abraham to live by faith and to build an altar to Jehovah (Heb. 11:8-10). Both his living by faith and the altar that he built became an anti-testimony to the godless living of mankind at the tower of Babel. Abraham was not merely a moral, ethical man who was more acceptable to God than the men at Babel. Rather, Abraham accepted God’s appearing to him and His authority, ruling, and reigning in his daily life. The altar that he built stood as a testimony of his acceptance of this ruling and it was an anti-testimony to the godless age in which he lived.
Like Abraham, we also live in a rebellious and idolatrous society. In the midst of such godlessness, God desires a group of people to stand as a testimony for Him on earth, and as an anti-testimony to all that is against God (Rev. 2:13). In order for God to obtain such a testimony two things are required: first, God’s repeated spiritual appearing and transfusing of Himself into us (see second post) and our voluntary consecration to Him (see first post).
God’s appearing and our consecration allow the Lord Jesus Christ to rule and reign in our heart and in our daily living. Even though the world may declare its opposition to God (Dan. 6:7), He desires that we “become blameless and guileless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine as luminaries in the world” (Phil. 2:15). In response to His desire, we can pray, “Lord Jesus, I desire to build an altar to You in the midst of this godless age. For this, appear to me again and again. I am willing to be inwardly ruled by Your authority, and I give You the consent to reign in my daily life. Lord Jesus, make me part of Your shining testimony today.”
(Most references in the Further Reading can also be viewed on www.ministrybooks.org.)