24) That night the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham."
25) Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord.
It was a time of great difficulty for Isaac. God had greatly blessed him in the land of the Philistines where he was living, so that the Bible says (verse 13): “(Isaac) began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous; for he had possessions of flocks and possessions of herds and a great number of servants. So the Philistines envied him”.
The envious Philistines filled in all his wells, and their king, Abimelech, said to Isaac: “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we”. So he began moving from place to place, encountering opposition and conflict all along the way, until he was finally pushed all the way into the desert area of Beersheba.
At Beersheba, which is located in the northern part of the Negev Desert, God reminded Isaac of his promised blessing. Immediately, Issac went into action. He began building upon that promised blessing of God by erecting an Altar and calling upon the name of the Lord! Verse 25 says, “So he built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord.” This action shows us the priority that God took in Isaac's life. His God-connection superseded everything else.
THE IMPORTANCE OF AN ALTAR
Isaac realized an important fact that many people miss even today. He understood that if he was going to be a priority for God, then God must be a priority for him. If he was to be honored by God, then he was going to have to honor God. If he was going to see the promised blessing of God become a reality for him, then he must make blessing the Lord the main goal in his life. The building of an altar symbolized that fact.
What is so important about an altar, anyway?
1) An Altar is a place of Consecration to God.
Leviticus 11:44; “I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.” “Consecration” means dedicating yourself to the service and worship of God. What have you given to God? What have you placed on the Altar? Is the Lord the priority in your life or is He somewhere down the list of your "top ten"?
2) An Altar is a place of Connection with God.
1 Chronicles 21:26 tells us that; “David built an altar to the Lord there… He called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him.”
We personally connect with God at the altar. It is our point of connection. It is where we commune with Him and He with us! God is a personal God. He wants to connect and commune with His Son's and Daughter's. He wants to spend time with his favorite people -- His family!
3) An Altar is a place of Commission from God.
A “Commission” is an authoritative order, charge, or direction. We read in Psalms 37:23 that “The steps of the godly are directed by the LORD. He delights in every detail of their lives.” God is a personal God that will direct your steps, direct your future -- direct your life. We simply need to hear and heed His voice.
CONCLUSION: The Altar is about: Consecration, Connection, & Commission.
But most Importantly, that Altar is NOT optional. In Exodus 20:24, God said; “An altar… you shall make for me.” This is not something that you can choose to take or leave. This is a necessity. We must have a personal relationship with the Lord.
So the question begs to be asked... Do You Have an Altar? If not, build one today. It can be your couch, your bed, your chair or even just your own personal space. Turn it into a place where you can Call on God, Connect with God, and Commit to God and His direction for your life. Like Isaac, it can be the difference-maker in your life.