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Build an Altar

“And Abraham built an altar there.” Genesis 22:6-9

Altars.  Built from stones, blocks and wood, they may be piled together roughly.  They may be measured carefully and laid out in precision. Sometimes they are left in the raw state.  Some builders cover them with bronze, silver or even gold.  Twenty-five hundred years ago, they were built out in the open air, in valleys, beside river beds or on mountain tops.  Today, they are elaborate works of art or architecture crafted to be center showpieces in ornate cathedrals.  Nominal Christians see the altar as a place where mysterious religious rituals take place.  Communion wine and wafers are served there.  Prayers are intoned at the altar.  It seems far above and beyond the reach of the common layperson. 

Others of us know that the altar is the place where our relationship with God achieves its reality.  The altar is where I knelt to find the Lord.  The altar is where I found repentance and forgiveness.  The altar is where I received spiritual blessings.  The altar is where I consecrated myself to God.  The altar is where my heavenly vision was made clear.  The altar is where my soul was galvanized into action.  The altar is where the best things in life happened to me.  In the Bible, every patriarch built an altar.  Noah, having been spared along with his wife, his three sons and their wives from the global devastation of the flood, the flood that wiped out all the known civilization of the world, emerged from the ark.  What was the first thing Noah did?  He built an altar.  From that humble construction, he blessed the God who saved him from the fate of the world. Both Abraham and Elijah built altars.  

Altars symbolize sacrifice.  Salvation must cost you something.  You are not saved by works, but you must forsake your own inventions, will and preferences to embrace the Gospel.  David rejected an offer by Araunah to sacrifice to the Lord free of charge.  David said, “Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing.”  2 Samuel, 24:24. You will never be greatly used of God without an altar.  If you want the approval and blessing of God in your life, sacrifice those things that have great meaning to your flesh, your ego, your pleasure, your power in this world.  The altar is where you establish an entirely new set of priorities. 

Something happens when you build your altar.  When you take the elements of your life, your body, your soul and spirit, your mind and strength and build an altar to God, you testify to all who see you.  This is what the Apostle Paul did.  Paul said, For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16. Moreover, you, your body, mind and soul becomes a witness to the world of the power of God.  “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8. Something else happens at the altar.  This is where you honor and glorify God.  I worship by my tongue.  I worship by physical motions.  I worship through my tithes and offerings.  I worship by my commitments to God.  I worship by living a holy, consecrated life for God.  All these things are not incidentals.  They are not meaningless, liturgical rituals.  They are real-life components of my sincere worship to my God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. The fire does not fall on a barren altar, a selfish life, the pursuit of personal pleasure or a monument built to our own greatness.  The fire falls on the sacrifice. 

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Reader Comments (1)

Wow. Thank you for your post today. My dad used to preach this scripture often, yes "the fire falls on a sacrifice.." Blessings always

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPaul B Thomas

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