Do you enjoy giving gifts? Is it a pleasure for you to hand someone a present? Do you ever want to give God a gift? If so, how would you do it?
We do not physically see God face to face, so we can’t walk up to HIm and hand Him a present; however, it is possible to give Him a gift. Genesis 13 illustrates how Abram gave presents to God. Once we understand Abram’s practice and add some knowledge from Romans and Hebrews, then we have a picture of how we can give God a gift. Let’s start with Abram.
Abram was born in the Mesopotamian Valley in a city called Ur, then he lived in Haran for a while. When Abram was 75, he moved to Canaan. In Canaan, Abram lived a nomadic life, frequently moving from place to place. Read the following verses, paying attention to the last verse.
Gen. 13:14 ¶ The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward;
Gen. 13:15 for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever.
Gen. 13:16 “I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered.
Gen. 13:17 “Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.”
God wanted Abram to walk about the land because He had promised to give Abram’s descendants all the land Abram could see. What did Abram do after hearing these promises? Notice the four verbs in this next verse, particularly the last verb.
Gen. 13:18 Then Abram moved his tent and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and there he built an altar to the LORD.
Abram built an altar. This was at least the third time that Abram had built an altar.
Gen. 12:7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him.
Gen. 12:8 Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD.
An altar was a place to offer sacrifices. The most common sacrifice was an animal. Offering sacrifices was a way of giving God a portion of your possessions. It was a way of giving God a gift. As Abram moved around, he kept building altars where he lived so that he had a place to offer his sacrifices and give God a gift. Is this something we should be doing? Should we build altars? How do we give God a gift?
The books of Romans and Hebrews tell us what kind of sacrifices we should make?
Rom. 12:1 ¶ Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
Heb. 13:15-16 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Our gifts are different than Abram’s gifts. We do not offer animal sacrifices; instead, our sacrifices are praising God, doing good, and sharing. When we do these things, we are giving God a gift. We do not need to have a physical altar to do these things; therefore, we do not need to keep building altars as Abram did. Instead, we need to daily present ourselves as living sacrifices and be in the habit of praising God, doing good, and sharing.
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