Summary: God is looking for a people who will build an altar of worship. It is that concept that some captured my attention. In particular the place that the altar plays in Old Testament worship, and it’s accompanying challenge to you and I.
Egypt is synonymous of our world and it’s accompanying bondage.
God’s desire for Israel was that they would be free from Egypt to worship him without constrain, that’s the story of Exodus.
The first 2 commandments – EXODUS 20:1-6
Worship is that central affirmation of God in our lives, above everything else, more important than anything else.
What are you building ? What we build in life reveals our priorities and values.
God is looking for a people who will build an altar of worship.
It is that concept that some captured my attention. In particular the place that the altar plays in Old Testament worship, and it’s accompanying challenge to you and I.
NOAH – Genesis 8:18-21
Given the responsibility of founding a new order, What was Noah’s first act ?
Noah didn’t seek to satisfy himself or his family with the clean animals, but he sought to please God and God is please with sacrificial worship.
(Nb There weren’t many animals with which to build a new civilization)
ABRAHAM – Genesis 12:4-9
His worship was not tied to a location, it formed a central part to the progress of his life. Wherever he travelled he built an altar
Always moving, always worshipping!
His most testing experience in life required the building of an altar – Genesis 22:9 “When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.”
He also passed on to his son the importance of building an altar – Genesis 26:25
JACOB – Genesis 28:16-22
Jacob had clearly lived in ignorance of God’s presence - Genesis 28:16,17
Our own self can be the obstacle to experiencing “…the gate of heaven…”
It is at the altar we are truly transformed - Genesis 35:1,7,9,10
DAVID – 2 Samuel 24:18-25
Worship is not cheap, it costs to build an altar - 2 Sam 24:18
There are those unprepared to pay the price, to whom worship has to be convenient to be meaningful.
• The altar was built out of rubble, broken pieces of life!
An altar built from the rubble of our brokenness, our frustration, our fear - Psalm 42:5-8
Eventually the altar changed. Before the imposing, golden altars of the Tabernacle and Temple the altar was a pile of rocks PERSONALLY built for much needed encounters with God at whatever place you were at whatever time it was necessary.
In the Temple and Tabernacle the altar was static, less personal more national.
The danger of formal religious structures, like our church buildings, is that they take the place of intimate, personal worship.
• Worship is not a fast food experience, a drive through meal!
When Moses retired for the night Joshua could not help but linger in THE presence
The Bible never encourages an institutional approach to worship, look at the Song of Solomon, why else is it there if not to inspire the deep intimacy of hearts in love with Jesus?
• The altar of worship is not a place, it’s a lifestyle!
I want you to hear heavens call to worship today – Revelation 5:11-14
This is God’s call to you and I. Not to more meetings but to a personal, transforming encounter with his presence.
Some people do not need more counselling, preaching or even deliverance, they need to see Jesus. They need to meet him at an altar, a humble altar built from the rubble of our brokeness and pain, our frustration and fear.
At that place he comes in sovereign power to set the captives free!