Summary: Thank God for the altar! It’s the place where lives are changed.
David was writing this Psalm as a word of adoration for the house of God. He said he fainted for the house of God and would rather be a door-keeper in the house of God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. *But one thing he specifically points out is the altar. He says in V.3 “Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young- a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God”. Why would he say this? Because they could find it as a place of refuge and peace.
Even though many modern churches don’t install actual altars, over all they are still one of the most popular items you’ll see in a church. Some use the steps of the stage, some the communion table, and some the old-fashioned long 2X12’s with varnish on them. But, irregardless of what/where it is, there is great power to be found at the altar. *Nothing is more important in the church than the altar! Not pews, pulpits, chairs, benches, piano, etc. The most beautiful and the most run down church buildings in the world are totally ineffective without a place to make an altar!
It’s at the altar (1)slobbering drunks lay down their bottles, (2)drug addictions are broken, (3)adulterers are purified, (4)child molesters are born again, (5)families are restored,
(6) mom’s daddy’s come home to their children, (7)the suicidal find peace of mind, (8)the spiritually bound are set free, (9)the sick are healed, (10)financial miracles come forth, (11)churches are revived…
THANK GOD FOR THE ALTAR!!!
In the Bible, there were 2 purposes for altars:
(1)To give an offering to God- There were various offerings lifted up to the Lord, especially in the OT. (Burnt, Drink, Freewill, Heave, Meal, Sin, Thank offering) They were presented at or around the altar of God. The purpose was to get God’s approval/favor over their lives or the work they were doing. *If we don’t have God’s favor over our lives, we are going to be lost and in trouble.
(2)To give a sacrifice to God- At the altar of God they would bring a sacrifice for atonement from sin. The people were required to give their best offering to the Lord so their sins could be rolled back from them. *Romans 12 says we are to give ourselves as living sacrifices to God on his altar.
There were some people in the Bible who believed in the altar:
(1)Noah-after getting off the Ark, (2)Abraham-after dividing the land with Lot, (3)Isaac-while headed to Gerar because of the famine that was transpiring, (4)Jacob-after meeting with Esau and discovering the power of forgiveness, (5)Moses- after the Israelites were attacked by an enemy for the first time since leaving Egypt, (6)Joshua-after crossing the Jordan, (7)Gideon-after receiving the call of God to lead an army against the Midianites, (8)Samuel-while judging Israel, (9)Elijah-while on Mt. Carmel, (10)David-after committing the sin of numbering Israel, (11)Manasseh-after humbling before God and turning away from wickedness while in Babylon, (12)Peter-after denying Jesus 3 times, (13)Jesus-in Gethsemane, (14)120 at Pentecost
IF THE ALTAR WAS GOOD/IMPORTANT ENOUGH FOR ALL THEM, SURELY IT MUST BE FOR US!!
Now, I know people question, ‘if the altar is so great, what is it that makes folks so afraid to come to it?’ After all, like I said physically it’s just a 2X12 with some studs, covered in varnish. We all sit in the pews, stand on the stage, go into the fellowship hall, study over a table, etc. and none of that bothers us. Why then does it bother us so bad to use the altar?
(1)If you go, you are admitting you need help.
(2)If you go, you will have to be humbled.
(3)If you go, your true self will be revealed.
But irregardless, we need to use the altar. If you are a Christian, don’t ever get to the place where you feel like you don’t need to come pray any more. And if you’re a sinner, if you are not living right, the best choice you can make is to come to the altar.
Don’t worry about arguing with God as to why you can’t come; just come!