Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rebuild the Altar

Has your mom ever been after you to clean your room? To pick up things and put them back where they go? Sometimes we need to do the same thing with our spiritual lives.
1 Kings 18:20-39  So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. And Elijah came near to all the people and said, "How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him." And the people did not answer him a word. Then Elijah said to the people, "I, even I only, am left a prophet of the LORD, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. Let two bulls be given to us, and let them choose one bull for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. And I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood and put no fire to it. And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the LORD, and the God who answers by fire, he is God." And all the people answered, "It is well spoken." Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it." And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, "O Baal, answer us!" But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made. And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, "Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened." And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention. Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come near to me." And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that had been thrown down. Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD came, saying, "Israel shall be your name," and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD. And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two seahs of seed. And he put the wood in order and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, "Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood." And he said, "Do it a second time." And they did it a second time. And he said, "Do it a third time." And they did it a third time. And the water ran around the altar and filled the trench also with water. And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back." Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, "The LORD, he is God; the LORD, he is God."
It's a showdown by fire. The God who answers will be the true God. They did everything they could to get their gods to answer but there was no response. When Elijah's turn came to call upon God...before God would answer - he first had to rebuild the altar. The altar is where the physical goes to die and the spirit is born. God's glory is revealed at his altar and it's where he chose to reveal his power.

We want to know, feel and experience God. When we were first born again, we felt him...but along the journey it seems that something shifts, life gets busy and we don't feel him anymore. You have to put the holy things back in their place in our lives so that God will move.

It was only when the altar had been rebuilt and water had consumed the altar that God sent fire. The water is symbolic of God's Spirit. Water is essential for life and the Spirit is essential for our spiritual life.
Luke 3:15-16 As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, John answered them all, saying, "I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
John the Baptist spoke of Jesus...the one who baptizes in water and fire. With water, you can get dirty again...but fire consumes us. The Holy Spirit gives the power to change, to overcome the enemy and empowers you to speak the truth and take a stand. Don't be lukewarm. Until his fire manifests in your life, you haven't tasted the fullness of life in Him.

1 Kings 18:30-32a Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come near to me." And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that had been thrown down. Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD came, saying, "Israel shall be your name," and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD.
 If you take a look at the tribes of'll find something pretty cool.
Reuben - friend/companion
Remember to be careful who you surround yourself with. Don't go back to who you were before by continuing to hang out with old friends. Be careful of the company you keep. (Proverbs 22:24-25 Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.) The company you keep affects your life...don't run away, spend time with believers who are rooted in their faith. You will end up where your friends are going.
Simeon - hearing
What you listen to, what you let in your soul, your affects you. Music was created to worship and glorify your creator...anything else is not okay. Don't think "well, what I listen to is better than what they listen to." We aren't called to be holy as someone else is holy...we are called to be holy as Christ is holy. Be careful what you listen to.
Levi - a joining
Levi refers to something that is joined to. What do you join your body to? The world is out to steal your purity. Satan lead Jesus into the wilderness and offered him the nations of Jesus would only bow to him. Satan offered Jesus something Jesus already had. Satan wants to tempt you. Don't bow to sin to get what is yours in Christ. (and as Tyson says...just put a ring on it first!)
Judah - Praise Yahweh
Take your praise and worship back. As humans, it is our nature to worship something...but what is number 1 in your life? Worship is a lifestyle not a 45 minute jam session at church. Worship is also fear and reverence to your creator. Wholehearted fully attentive surrender.
Dan - judge
When we come to Jesus we recognize him as the sovereign, holy, righteous judge of all creation. But in our sin, we become the judge. Stop judging everyone else. God is your judge...give it back to God.
Naphtali - wrestler
Genesis 32:22-30
Jacob wrestled a man but God was with him. Hold onto God. Don't let go. Don't wrestle to hold onto fears and doubts. Have a passion to keep God.
Gad - good fortune
Remember not to rely on your own strength. Even in the good times when life is easy...remember that God is still sustaining you. Thank him and bless his name even in the good times.

Asher - happiness
Delight in him, remember who He is. Your joy and happiness should be found in him and nothing else.

Issachar - man for hire
Remember that it's not just at church where it matters...In your job too...commit it to God. Don't complain, give your job to God, delight in him and work as you would work for God.

Zebulun - elevated dwelling
Don't focus on the material world...worry about dwelling in the presence of God. We are called to live according to his word, not according to what the world tells us we need.
Joseph - added
Joseph is the one whom God added to. Take your past, your future, your dreams, and your life and give it to God. Stop trying to plan your own way. God is the one who perfects all things.
Benjamin - Son of right hand
Who is at the right hand of God? - Jesus. He is at the right hand of the Father. 

An altar is where you go to die. To restore your life you must lay your flesh down so that the Spirit can live. Take the time to put the things that are holy back in place in your life...rebuild your altar and let God consume you once more.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just added this feed to my bookmarks. I have to say, I very much enjoy reading your blogs. Thanks!