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Then Isaac built an altar there and worshiped the Lord. He set up his camp at that place, and his servants dug another well. Genesis 26:25 (NLT)

In the early days of the Old Testament it was common for people to build altars to the Lord. Noah, Abraham, Isaac Jacob and Moses were the ones who most often built altars to the Lord. The altars during this time bore special significance because they involved an action or promise by the God of the Universe and a sacrifice as an act of worship by man because of what God had done for him. Altars spoke to God’s working on behalf of man.

The early patriarchs of the Old Testament weren’t just known for building altars. The land in which they lived was dry and there was a constant need to provide water for the livestock. Out of necessity wells were dug to provide life and refreshment for the animals as well as the families that owned them. On several occasions these wells were dug as special reminders of God’s blessings and promises. As the altars reminded man of God’s forgiveness and awesome power, the wells were a reminder that God is the provider of life and refreshment. Just as all living things need water to live, mankind needs the living water that God grants us for spiritual life.

God instructed the great patriarchs of the Bible to build altars and wells, not cities and houses. The reason for this is that life isn’t about settling in and being content. Life is a journey. It’s a journey that leads us through lush valleys, desert wasteland and mountain top highs. But along the way we pass the altars and the wells and remind ourselves that God is on His throne. He is all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful and longing for a relationship with us.

In Jesus Christ we have the ultimate sacrifice so we no longer need to build altars for sacrifice. In Jesus Christ we have living water that satisfies eternally so wells are not necessary. While we no longer build physical altars or dig physical wells where God has met us, it is important for us to note spiritual benchmarks where God has met us in a real and powerful way.

These are not to be worshipped or held onto tightly. They are simply to be reminders along the journey that Jehovah God has come to us. A personal relationship with Jesus brings forgiveness when we fail and new life for eternity. Each of the most well-known altar and well builders, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses made major moral mistakes in their lives. Still God used them in mighty ways. He longs to do the same for each of us.

Live in such a way that God can reveal Himself to you so that you can build altars and wells that those who come behind you will see and use to find their own way along the journey God has for them. Altars and wells. They aren’t just for you. They aren’t just for today.

PRAYER: Father God. Thank you for the examples of men like Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Isaac and Moses. Men who failed, yet experienced your love and forgiveness. You know my heart. You know my failings, my anger, and my impatience with others. You know my tendency to be content to rest on yesterday’s victories. Empower me through your Holy Spirit to move forward so that the life I live will be altars and wells that those who come behind me will be able to use as a guide to following your ways. Amen.

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