The Lord appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants I will give this land." So Abram built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him (Genesis 12:7).
When God appeared to Abram, the patriarch knew what to do.
He built an altar.
Old Testament altars were more than places for animal sacrifice. They played a vital role in the religious life of God's people. When God appeared to His servants they typically built altars to consecrate the ground. Altars also provided the people opportunity to confess their sins and seek His forgiveness. At altars, Israelites sacrificed the best of their flock, counting it a privilege to return something valuable to their God. At those altars they set aside their mundane tasks and focused on the sacred. They turned from self-seeking to enter the supernatural presence of God.
The more I contemplate the spiritual significance of Old Testament altars, the more I appreciate the importance of taking time before Mass to prepare for that supernatural encounter.
On my knees in the pew, before most of the congregation arrives, God gives me opportunity to create a private altar and ask Him to strengthen my obedience. At my private altar I can lay aside my will for His will, my opinions for His commandments, my sense of self-importance for His holiness. When the Holy Spirit changes bread and wine into the body, blood, soul and divinity of the Lord Jesus, I have the privileged opportunity to walk toward sacred ground and offer myself to God as a "living sacrifice." (Romans 11:1-2).
Abram knew what to do when he met God.
I want always to do the same.