Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Altar

What should be the attitude of my daily quiet time with God? Romans 12:1-2 says we are to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to God in an act of worship and service to Him. As I meditated on that scripture, I began thinking about giving an offering of myself to God. And this thought occurred to me: being a living sacrifice means that I am continually on the altar. I did some research on the Bible concept of an altar. And I found that many of the great saints of the Lord built altars:

Noah: (Gen 8:20 NIV) Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it.

Abraham: (Gen 12:7 NIV) The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him.

Isaac: (Gen 26:25 NIV) Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the LORD. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well.

Jacob: (Gen 33:20 NIV) There he (Jacob) set up an altar and called it El Elohe Israel.

Moses: (Exo 17:15 NIV) Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner.

Joshua: (Josh 8:30 NIV) Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel,

Gideon: (Judg 6:24 NIV) So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

David: (2 Sam 24:25 NIV) David built an altar to the LORD there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the LORD answered prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.

Wherever Abraham went he built altars to the Lord God where he would worship Him (Genesis 12:7,8; 13:18). You want to know what Abram did after he had heard from the Lord? The Bible says that he built an altar unto the Lord. You see BEFORE you ever read about Abram doing great things for God, you read about him building an altar before the Lord. BEFORE you ever read about him becoming the father of a great nation, you read about him building an altar before the Lord. BEFORE you ever read about the mighty touch of God being on his life you read about him building an altar before the Lord.

All throughout the Bible, we read quite a bit about altars. The word is used over 400 times in the Bible. In fact the very first mention of the word “altar” in the Bible is in Genesis 8:20.  Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it.(Gen 8:20 NIV)

After God had stopped the waters of judgment upon the earth and after the waters had abated from off of the earth, the Bible teaches that Noah built an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

In the OT, The Hebrew word for altar that is used most frequently is formed from the verb meaning “slaughter” and means literally, "a place of slaughter." Altars were used primarily as places of sacrifice just like Noah did, offering burnt offerings of animals to the Lord.

In the NT, the Greek word used for altar literally translates "place of sacrifice." The altar is the place where we offer ourselves in submission and service to God.

What is An Altar?
  • An Altar is a place that is designed or separated for worship unto God; a place of fellowship with God.
  • It is a place where praises and prayers are rendered unto God.  (Psa 43:4 NIV) Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God.
  • An Altar symbolizes holiness and represents the presence of God; a higher place where untarnished (spotless, blameless) services are offered to God.
  • Altar is a place of refuge and comfort from the troubles of this world.
  • An Altar could also be a place where intercession is being made for others inspired by the Holy Spirit.
  • The altar is a place where your life can be altered! Build yours today and lay yourself there as a sacrifice.

Now, we have an altar (Hebrews 13:10) which is in Christ! Through His blood we have access at any time to Him.

(Heb 13:10-16 NIV) We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat. The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Is Your All On the Altar?

You have longed for sweet peace,
And for faith to increase,
And have earnestly, fervently prayed;
But you cannot have rest,
Or be perfectly blest,
Until all on the altar is laid.

Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?
Your heart does the Spirit control?
You can only be blest,
And have peace and sweet rest,
As you yield Him your body and soul.

Would you walk with the Lord,
In the light of His Word,
And have peace and contentment alway?
You must do His sweet will,
To be free from all ill,
On the altar your all you must lay.

O we never can know
What the Lord will bestow
Of the blessings for which we have prayed,
Till our body and soul
He doth fully control,
And our all on the altar is laid.

Who can tell all the love
He will send from above,
And how happy our hearts will be made,
Of the fellowship sweet
We shall share at His feet,
When our all on the altar is laid.


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