The account of the tower of Babel in Genesis 11 screams arrogance. "Let us build a tower to heaven,' was the architect's brief. God judges it,scattering the builders into different tribes and dialects.
Enter Abraham in Genesis 12, his call the polar opposite to Babel. It starts with God calling Abraham by name, saying, "I will bless you and make you a blessing." God takes the initiative, and Abraham simply responds with ignorant obedience. He doesn't know much, but he acts decisively on what he does know. He builds an altar there as a reminder that He has responded to a God who has revealed Himself.
Scripture says that Abraham saw the Gospel in advance, he believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. He knew that he was morally bankrupt; that he needed God to reach down to him and credit him with righteousness. He believed the impossible. His life was marked by repeated, ready obedience to God's initiative. His faith was feeble at times. He lapsed back into self-reliance, but his lapses didn't last long. God measured him on his average and called him the father of our faith. He somehow kept the gospel in focus. Just look what God did with him.
Often our faith begins with an altar but turns into a tower. We think we have to move past the gospel to something else. Discipleship. The Kingdom. Maturity. Signs and wonders. We fail to recognize that all these things take place under the shadow of God's initiative in the cross. Let's stay away from towers. Let's stay around altars. Let's connect the kingdom back to the gospel so that our faith doesn't turn into a white-knuckled, self-determined tower.Let's see what our great God will do with his people who respond to Him with faith at the altar of obedience.
"The kingdom of heaven is at hand: repent and believe the gospel"(Mark 1:15)