Read His Words Before Ours!
Life can be difficult, exciting, scary, or down right turbulent.
We get so caught up in what’s going on around us we forget
to give God glory or even look for His hand.
Our tendency to forget isn’t a secret to God.
And so, He invites us to build altars.
Genesis 28:10-19 tells of Jacob and his dream. Jacob was twin to Esau and son to Isaac, who was Abraham’s son of promise. Through Isaac, God promised Abraham he would become the father of many nations, ultimately having lineage leading to Jesus Christ Himself. Jacob was a Hebrew, which meant he was offspring of Abraham and set apart for God.
Esau, with a chip on his shoulder for his dad, Isaac’s, faith in the God of Abraham and a desire for lucrative women, decided to marry outside the Hebrew faith. Eventually, Esau’s lifestyle choices led him away from the Lord God as he worshipped false gods.
Isaac, seeing Esau’s choice, warned Jacob to marry a Hebrew woman, who believed as Isaac did. Jacob obeyed and began traveling back to Haran, which was Grandfather Abraham’s homeland. As Jacob stopped for rest during his travels, he was given a dream by God, wherein God renewed the Promise of Inheritance He had given to Abraham and Isaac.
God said, “Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 28:14)
It was in incredible encounter with the Living God!
Jacob awoke and incredulously declared,
“Surely the Lord is in this place!”
As a reminder of God’s promise and his encounter, Jacob set up an altar where he had dreamed.
Jacob’s altar reminded him of truth, despite what circumstances might say.
The altar was a testimony of what God had said and done in his life.
We might not go around setting up rock towers and anointing them with oil as Jacob did (Genesis 28:18), but we can create similar spiritual memorials through journaling.
Transparently, I’ve been in a season where the enemy is continually planting doubt in my mind.
“Are you sure God said that? Or was that just your feelings?”.
One way I battle these lies is with my prayer journal.
As I pray, sharing my thoughts with God and writing how God responds,
my altar to the Lord is built. When the Enemy lies, I go back to my documented prayers to clearly see my testimony of God’s truth.
Why is writing an important battle plan against the enemy?
The Lord has always especially used the written word to make Himself known,
even Jesus was first introduced in John’s gospel as “the Word made flesh.” (John 1:14)
As Habakkuk, one of many prophetic books, exemplifies by recording the Lord as saying,
“Write the vision; make it plain on tablets…” (Habakkuk 2:2)
We are told to plainly write how the Lord moves and acts.
Not only for ourselves, but also that others might know Him!
Centuries after Jacob, his dream, and his altar, Joshua was leading the Israelites (Hebrews) into Canaan, the land God had promised through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In order to cross into the land, they had to go through the furiously fast flowing River Jordan. Like He had done before with Moses, God parted the waters and all of Israel crossed over on dry land.
Then Joshua records something unique as he commands 12 stones to be brought from the Jordan and built as a memorial altar before the Lord.
Joshua answers wisely, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come,
‘What do these stones mean?’
then you shall let your children know, Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ (…)
so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty….” (Joshua 4:21-24)
A memorial was made.
An altar was built.
That all might know the Lord.
Journaling is that practice of building altars, it’s our memorial for what the Lord as done and how He has spoken truth over us.
The greatest “journal” of the Bible is the book of psalms, which overflows with memorial altars. Here, the psalmists carefully recorded various circumstances and God’s faithful, solid true response to their hearts. As a result, the world reaps the benefit of seeing how a life centered on God is unshakeable despite rocky circumstances. Their “journaling” allowed the name of the Lord to be made known!
Journaling allows us to trace the places He has taken us,
the prayers He has answered,
and the tangible way He loves us.
It has built my trust in Him and it can build yours as well.
A worship chorus by Elevation Worship says,
I’ve seen You move, come move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again.
How can we trust He will do it again
if we don’t have the reminder that He has done it before?
Journaling can be challenging at first, because sometimes you have no idea what to write, but there are easy ways to start.
A Journible is a great tool for journaling. In these unique books, you become the scribe, recording the very words of Scripture. Then, with simple prompts, you’re encouraged to respond with your heart, engaging in conversation with the Almighty.
If you enjoy using technology over pen and paper, Journey is a great resource that allows for online journaling.
Whatever method you choose, don’t miss out on the opportunity to build an altar and declare God’s faithfulness!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!