As I was considering the verses in Chapters 13-15, the word ‘altar’ stood out to me. The word altar or altars occurs in the Bible over 370 times. What does it mean? The English dictionary defines an altar as, an elevated place or structure, as a mound or platform, at which religious rites re performed or on which sacrifices are offered to gods, ancestors, etc.
The Bible defines an altar in much the same way, the place of sacrifice.
Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to the Lord.
However, what is important to note is what took place at the altar. In the context of this verse, it was the place where sacrifices were made, sacrifices which solemnized a covenant or treaty and to symbolize a positive relationship between two parties. In this case, the relationship between God and man.
We may not build literal altars today, but there are many altars in our lives on which we offer sacrifices to establish relationships with other people or other things. The question I am obliged to ask myself is sobering. What are the altars in my life? What are the altars in my heart? What are the daily sacrifices I make to establish relationships in my life?
There is no more important relationship in our lives than our relationship with God. He is a jealous God and desires that our only sacrifice on any altar be made to Him and to Him alone.