“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies...” (KJV)
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies...” (KJV)
An altar is a place where gifts to God are consecrated. Anything that touches the altar is set apart and whoever tampers with it tampers with God.
According to Genesis 8:20 the Bible says, "And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar". Noah understood that only clean animals were allowed on the altar. This was symbolic of what Christ would have to become for all humanity as a holy and perfect sacrifice to God.
In Genesis 22:9 in regards to the symbolic sacrifice of Isaac the Bible says, "And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood". That day Isaac was not sacrificed because Abraham was just being tested. However, this tells us that everything we consider precious in our life must be laid at the altar like Abraham did.
What is more precious than a son? Nothing, but life itself. God gave his only begotten Son for us all. The Son of God, Jesus Christ is the only perfect sacrifice for the redemption of mankind. When you lay your life on the altar of his ministry you find eternal life.
Isaac also built an altar to the Lord. The Bible in Genesis 26: 25 says, "And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the Lord, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac's servants digged a well. Isaac was wise by first working on his relationship with God and then building his tent and digging a well.
Moses was also instructed to build an altar very carefully. In Genesis 20:25 the Bible says, "And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it".
The Church is where the true altar is found just like the altar was built at the Tabernacle in the midst of the people of God. Church ministry provides the same services to people by the altar that sanctifies through Christ. Jesus sanctified himself so that the disciples could also be sanctified. This also happened in the Levitical order of priests. One difference is that Jesus remains a high priest forever.
In John 17: 19 Jesus prayed, "And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth". Sanctification is key because it determines whether people receive the blessing from God or not. In the book of Joshua 22:19 the Scripture warns against rebelling against the LORD and it says,"... but rebel not against the LORD, nor rebel against us, in building you an altar beside the altar of the Lord our God". In the same passage of scripture the Bible further goes on to talk about Achan the son of Zerah who caused everyone in his family to perish because of his sin. In Christ there is true sanctification that brings an abundance of blessings to those who bring their sacrifices to his altar and these blessings includes eternal life.
Sanctification is another word for consecration and it means to be set apart or be made conducive for service. There is no other sanctification apart from the one found in Christ that is why it is necessary to build ministry according to the consecration found in Christ. The priesthood of Christ is set forever and has no end. It is set in the order of Melchisedec who is without beginning or end days as explained by the writer of the book of Hebrews.
There is one common misconception we all have to deal with as we serve God and people. It is common in the sense that it can affect anyone in any religious or secular work place. This misconception is base on a thought that says, “ No one else can do this job, but me”.
When someone sees himself as the only one suited for a particular job, such a one has probably got ideas rooted in this misconception. The truth of the matter is that anyone with the same resources can do the same job. If you are convinced that your work place will go out of business when you leave, you are operating under a misconception because that work place will probably continue for many more years after you have left or retired.
Elijah was a man sent from God, but he also thought that he was the only prophet left. In 1 Kings 18: 22 the Bible says, “Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord; but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men” (KJV). Elijah believed that he was the only one left, when actually Obadiah was hiding a hundred prophets in caves.
In 1 Kings 18:3-4 the Bible says, “And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly: For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.)” (KJV).
Elijah’s perception was limited to what he saw and experienced in his own life. He did not seem to realize that he was just part of a bigger plan. Elijah, just like all of us are part of God’s plan. We might think that our plan is big and yes it might, but God’s plan is even bigger and our life is just a part of it.
There are many critical points in most serious activities of life. When a person or anything reaches a critical point in some process it must be fully committed to the task ahead in order to step into what should be accomplished. Jesus explains this point by using an example of a man who is ploughing in a field.
In Luke 9:62 the Bible says, “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (KJV). In this scripture Jesus is making a parallel between something done on a farm and the kingdom of God. This does not mean that one has to be a farmer to be fit for the Kingdom of God. The lesson here is that we all have to be fit for whatever task we have in front of us by being committed. Looking back is a sign of not being committed to the task ahead and it does not please God.
In order for us to become fit for the Kingdom of God, we have to be decisive. A person who is not decisive can not possess anything. Decisiveness stems from within and it defies the fears that a difficult task may present. People who are decisive give themselves the opportunity for greatness. God has great things in store for you, but you have to be well focused and committed in order to have them.
We understand that no one can really do a good job ploughing a field if he keeps looking back after having put his hand to the plough just like no one is fit for the Kingdom of God if he is not fully committed to God. We have to be single minded in our commitment to God. In Hebrews 10:38 the Bible says, “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him” (KJV). The life of faith is a life of being committed to God. This commitment is not just for a season. It is a commitment to God forever.
God wants everyone to be committed to him, but that has not always been the case. However, the good news is that God still wants every one to come to him. This is similar to what happened to the backsliding nation of Israel when God was calling the whole nation back to himself. In Jeremiah 3:12 the Bible says, “Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever” (KJV). God is a merciful God. We can always return to him when we stray so that he does not cause his anger to fall on us just like he told the nation of Israel.
Are you committed to God as never before?