An Altar at Shechem

An Altar at Shechem Gen 12: 1-7 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

Cities and regions in the Bible can be very significant because of the events that took place there.  Shechem is no exception.  When Abraham built an altar at Shechem, he established a type of the altar that you commonly see at the front of a New Testament local church.  Like the altar at Shechem, our local church altar is a:

Place of Promise – Gen 12:6-7 – Here Abraham received the promise of a seed and the land.  God made this promise and he will keep it.  You will see Abraham’s seed peacefully inhabiting that land during the millennial reign of Jesus Christ.  Likewise, in church, you receive the promises of God at this altar.  His scriptural promises of salvation, eternal security, answered prayer, provision, grace, mercy, peace, fellowship, the rapture, and so forth are proclaimed and claimed at this altar.

Place of Refuge – Jos 20:1-3, 7 – Shechem was one of the cities of refuge, where the slayer could seek refuge from the avenger of blood.  Likewise, at this altar, many of us have sought refuge from the pursuit of evil [Prov13:21] and the devil [1 Pet 5:8].  And bless the Lord we found it!

Place of Cleansing – Gen 35:1-4 – Jacob and his family came clean at Shechem when they buried their strange gods and earrings under the oak before traveling toBethel.  Likewise, many of us have come clean before God at this old altar.  And we have left some strange gods and some things that had come between us and God buried here under this wooden pulpit.

Place of Rebellion – Jud 9:1-6 – Shechem is where Abimelech organized his revolt against the rest of the house of Gideon and became king.  You see, though the altar is a great place to confirm the promises of God, seek refuge and get clean, it is also a place where many begin their inward rebellion against God.  We often think that the rebellion that draws souls out of church is to be blamed on the influences outside of church.  But more often than not, the trouble starts right under the pulpit, when your deceitful and desperately wicked heart deceives you into hardening your heart against the word of God when it is preached.  You outwardly appear to conform to the words of God but inwardly you are on your way out the door.  Backsliding starts in the pew.

Place of Decision Jos 24:1, 15 – At Shechem, Joshua said, “Choose you this day whom you will serve … as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  Today, you need to decide, at this altar, whether you are going to serve the rebellion that’s in your heart or whether you are going to serve the Lord; whether you are going to serve your lust or follow the Lord’s will; whether you are going to continue serving the devil on your way to hell or whether you are going to take God up on his offer of Jesus Christ and get saved.  Here is where you make that choice and today is the day to decide!