Last Sunday the pastor made a comment that really got my attention. And, I feel that his comment needs to be shared with everyone so here goes. He said, “The problem with the church is that we have lost the Altar. We have quit going there.”
It is important to know the purpose of an Altar before we can begin to understand why the church no longer goes. Read the following scriptures eluding to building an Altar and the specific offerings (sacrifices) placed on one.
Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
Moses built an altar and named it The LORD is My Banner;
“So it shall be when you cross the Jordan, you shall set up on Mount Ebal, these stones, as I am commanding you today, and you shall coat them with lime. “Moreover, you shall build there an altar to the LORD your God, an altar of stones; you shall not wield an iron tool on them. “You shall build the altar of the LORD your God of uncut stones, and you shall offer on it burnt offerings to the LORD your God.
and build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of this stronghold in an orderly manner, and take a second bull and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down.”
So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering and offered it on the rock to the LORD, and He performed wonders while Manoah and his wife looked on.
It came about the next day that the people arose early and built an altar there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.
Then his return was to Ramah, for his house was there, and there he judged Israel; and he built there an altar to the LORD.
And Saul built an altar to the LORD; it was the first altar that he built to the LORD.
An Altar then represents a structure which is built at a specific place where sacrifices are offered to the Lord. In other words, it is a place where things are put to death. Something has to die so that we can live and be in a right relationship with God.
Most of us are familiar with the Altar in a church building. We have probably all been to a funeral where we have witnessed a loved one laying in a coffin at the Altar. Being already dead, that person doesn’t try to climb off the Altar. He is dead!
Many of us have attended church weddings where couples stand at the Altar when they make their vows to love, honor, and cherish each other. We all know that is easier said than done. Though intentions may be sincere during the ceremony the couple’s flesh doesn’t die completely in that moment. It will rise up.
Many of us have laid across the Altar in the church when we first gave our hearts to the Lord. We realized at that point that we (our flesh) had to die to self so that we could truly live for God. The problem with our flesh is it didn’t die completely at that point. It has a way of rising up from time to time.
The way to deal with our flesh is to build an Altar, close by, and go to it as often as need be. When and if we neglect the Altar we tend to carry around fleshly attitudes and behaviors which eventually causes our hearts to become hard. This is essentially what the pastor was talking about.
The hardness of our heart separates us from God as well as those that we love. In order to prevent that it is vital that we habitually run to the Altar to lay those things down. That is, until we are completely dead, in a box, and taken up to the front of the church by six others (pallbearers).
It was God’s plan that we build an Altar because He knew we would need it. So how is it that the Altar has been lost? Has it been that long since we have been there or have we neglected to build one?
Pondering how to answer those questions brings me to only one conclusion. We have been a prideful people (a church) that has neglected God’s plan. The same pride got Satan kicked out of heaven.
Pride is just the opposite of humility and without humility we will not submit to another, especially an invisible God.
Think about your life. Have you humbled yourself and built an Alter? Do you visit there frequently or are you content to let the Altar stay lost?
My prayer for you:
Father, in the name of Jesus, I ask you to quicken the hearts of your children who are reading this blog. Many have allowed the flesh to callous their hearts to the degree that they don’t think they need to go to an Altar. And others may feel that their fleshy attitudes are so minor that they don’t need to bother going. Bring each and every one of us to that posture of humility so we will be willing to give up our own ways so we may be totally alive with you today and always.
Thank you Lord,
Have you concluded that there is something you need to lay down? Build an Altar or go find the one you have lost.
Many Blessings to you,