“Altered At The Altar”

“And Abraham removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east, and there he built an altar unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord.” – Genesis 12:8

Throughout Scripture we see the importance of the altar. The altar was a meeting place where God met with man and man met with God. It was also a place of sacrifice, surrender, and worship.

In these passages, Abraham responded to the call of God, taking his family and leaving what was familiar the Ur of Chaldees – and went to a land where he had never been. As God led him, Abraham came to a place called Sychar. There, he surrendered himself to God and God appeared unto him. Following his time of consecration, Abraham built an altar and called on God.

Later, in Genesis 22, Abraham and Isaac ascended up Mt. Moriah to worship God. There, on top of the mountain, Abraham and Isaac built an altar. God met them there, providing a sacrifice reaffirming that He is Jehovah Jireh the God who provides.

We see in I Kings 18, the Israelites had neglected and forsaken the altar, turning their hearts towards Baal. There, at Mt. Carmel, Elijah rebuilt the altar, offering a sacrifice and calling out to God in repentance on behalf of the Israelites for their idolatry. Following his prayer, God opened the heavens and consumed the sacrifice by fire. Notice, the altar is a powerful place.

A long-standing conviction we must have as a church is the priority of the altar in personal and corporate worship. It is a marvelous moment when the Holy Spirit moves upon hearts and lives of the people and takes them to a time of saying, “Yes, Lord”, in response to working of the Holy Spirit.

In our services, when a call to the altar is issued, people may kneel at their pews or bow their heads. That is fine in many cases because the important thing is to spend time in prayer. However, there are occasions when publicly stepping out and moving to the altar in obedience to the voice of the Spirit is important. This literally, and spiritually, signifies the person’s determination to fulfill what God is impressing on his or her heart. Testimonies abound of people whose lives were transformed during a time of meeting God at the altar.

Let me encourage you to keep the altar at the focus of your life. As the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart, respond to the altar call for it is the culmination of all that God is speaking to you. It is your act of responding to the truths and principles of God’s Holy Word. In that moment, the Holy Spirit deals directly with your heart, mind, and soul as you are touched by the life-changing Word.

Often, we hear the phrase “oldfashioned altar” used, usually in reference to its timelessness. Though the altar is timeless, there is nothing old-fashioned about the altar. It is a place where God continues to meet with people of all generations who come and seek His help and grace.

Keep the altar as the centerpiece of your life. Your life will be strengthened immeasurably as you obey the voice of the Spirit and commit to His leading. Decisions made at the altar will impact those who respond. Transformed disciples will rise from their knees knowing the reality of God’s love and grace and determined to fulfill their promises to Him. Until then, let us continue…

Changing Lives for Eternity,

Pastor Terry & Tina Richardson

Senior Pastor