Travelers and Pilgrims

Genesis 12:6‑9  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Genesis 12:6-9
When Abram finally reached the land of Canaan, he found the Canaanites were in it. Yes, there were enemies who would like to have hindered him from possessing what God had promised him. We, too, will find many enemies in the path of faith, who will try to keep us from en­joying the blessings which belong to all those who know the Lord Jesus as their own personal Saviour.
Perhaps he might have felt a little discouraged when he found these Ca­naanites in the land, but just at that moment the Lord appeared and en­couraged him with the words, “Unto thy seed will I give this land” (verse 7). When you feel discouraged, dear young believer, just think of one of God’s precious promises from His Word, and it will cheer your heart.
As soon as Abram had received this promise from the Lord, he built an altar to worship. Although we do not wor­ship at altars made of stone today as Abram did, we know the Lord was pleased when Abram built this altar, because God was not fully known at that time. He had only partially re­vealed Himself, and it was not until the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, came into the world that God became fully known. All the glory of God shone out in the face of Jesus Christ (see 2 Corinthians 4:6). Now we do not need altars made of stone at which to worship God, for the Lord Jesus said, “The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him” (John 4:23). We can now come right into His very presence by faith, and thank Him for all He has done for us, asking Him, too, for the things we need.
Bethel
After this Abram moved to another place near Bethel, where he pitched his tent and built an altar. Many of these names have meanings which are very interesting. Bethel means “the house of God.” It is nice to be near the place of meeting where the Lord has placed His name. “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst” (Matthew 18:20). Even boys and girls will find much blessing for their souls by coming regularly to the meetings.
Abram had his tent as well as his altar. I don’t suppose any of you live in a tent, but perhaps you have slept in one when you were on a journey, or for a short time during the nice weather. Tents are not permanent dwelling places, being used mostly by travellers, and Abram was a traveller — a pilgrim. If you belong to the Lord Jesus, and can say you are redeemed by His precious blood, you are travellers too. Yes, we who are saved are on our way to the Glory Land, and we don’t expect to stay in this poor, sad world very long. We don’t want to build a mansion here, for we are soon going to leave it all behind when the Lord Jesus comes for His own.
On the east side of Abram’s tent and altar was a place named Hai. The word Hai means “a heap,” and that is just what this world and all its pleasures really are — only a heap of rubbish. It has no real or lasting happiness to offer you. Why not come to Christ? He longs to bless and save you, and then someday He will take you to His bright home above. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).
Further Meditation
1. What did Abram do as soon as he received the promise of Canaan from the Lord?
2. When a traveler packs his bags for a trip, what kinds of things are almost never important enough to take along? What are some of the things we would leave out of our lives if we truly realized we were on our way to heaven?
3. If you are meditating on how the Lord wants you to be a pilgrim you would find some help in the book Faithful Follower: Practical Meditations on the Life of Caleb by J. N. Hyland?