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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Build an Altar

During King David’s reign, the tabernacle (the movable tent) that Moses had made was erected at the high place in Gibeon. This tabernacle represented the presence of God among the people.

At one particular time when David sinned, he needed a more immediate and convenient altar, so God sent him to a guy named Ornan and told David to build on Ornan’s threshing floor. 1 Chronicles 21:26 says,

“And David built there an altar to the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called on the LORD; and He answered him from heaven by fire on the altar of burnt offering.”

Thanks to Jesus, the sacrificial system is out, the need to go through Levitical priests to get to God is out, and the need to stand before a particular altar whenever I pray is out. However, even though all those things are out, the spirit of each part of David’s worship is still necessary today.

You see, my body is now the temple. I Corinthians 6:19 says,

"Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit...?"

It is my responsibility to build an altar to the Lord in my heart, maintain it, and visit it frequently. I take my sin, sorrow, faults, and failings to God at this altar and offer them as I would a burnt offering, letting God’s fire consume them and reprove me. I take my confidences, joys, and praise as peace offerings, willingly sharing them with my Master and continually submitting them to Him. I call on the Lord at my altar, discussing my requests and desires with Him, and seeking His face concerning them.

Finally, it is at the altar where God answers from Heaven by fire. Since my body is the temple, I can never leave my altar. As I maintain altar-consciousness and listen for God’s voice, I will hear Him speak through His Word, through other Christian brothers and sisters, and even through observations of nature, which after all is the work of His hands.

Consider these two verses:

For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."
2 Corinthians 6:16 (NIV)

You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:5 (NIV)

I encourage you today to become altar-conscious. If you’re just starting out, build your heart’s altar to the Lord by making a determination to spend daily time with Him. You may have to repair your neglected altar. That’s all right; just do it and take up where you left off. If you already spend regular times with God, keep it up. Whatever the case, it’s a joy to know that God eagerly desires to spend time with us.

©2009 Sharon Norris Elliott, used with permission.

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