And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy 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 measures of seed. 1King 18:30-32;
Altars are very significant in Godís relationship with His people from generations to generations. In Godís dealing with the Patriarchs, Priests, Prophets and Israel as a nation under the old covenant, erection of altars of worship was a very prominent thing. Noah built an altar unto God to set the stage for a new beginning after the flood; Abraham erected altars as landmarks of his divine encounters with God throughout his pilgrimage in the land of Mesopotamia; Jacob had his destiny remolded after a divine encounter at Jabbok when he returned to the altar he erected unto the Lord at Bethel; Moses was specifically instructed to build an altar which became the platform for Godís divine visitation to the children of Israel throughout their journey in the wilderness; the stage for Solomonís great wisdom and exploits as king was set when he encountered God at the altar of sacrifice of a thousand offering. Considering these old covenant examples, it is clear that altar provides a point of connection between God and His people.
In a manís relationship with God, the state of his altar determines a lot of things in his life. In fact, the whole life of a Christian is a reflection of the state of his altar and relationship with God. When anything goes wrong with a man or a nation, the first thing to consider in search of solution is the state of the altar. During the reign of King Ahab, the nation of Israel was under a terrible curse; rain ceased for three and half years, lives of the people suffered huge setbacks and the entire land was consumed by severe famine. What was the genesis of this problem? In the days of Ahab God was totally forgotten, His temple and sacred altar were broken down, and He was denied worship and intimacy He desired from His people. Rather than maintain constant worship and intimacy with the Almighty God via the sacred altar, Ahab built altars and high places unto Baal the god of the Sydonians through manipulations of Jezebel his witch wife. Ahab and Israelís absolute disregard for Godís sacred altar resulted in the pathetic state they found themselves.
Israel continued in their backslidden and shameful state until the appearance of Elijah. Elijah had declared Godís divine visitation following the great conquest of Baalís prophets on Mount Carmel, but the divine visitation would not come until the broken altar has been repaired. Elijah understood the significance of the altar in invoking the presence of the Almighty God and this was the reason why he took time to repair the broken altar first. It was after the broken altar had been properly repaired and set that Elijah called upon God and heaven responded immediately with consuming fire! If the altar was still in the broken state, heaven would not respond and the children of Israel would never experience divine visitation.
Dearly beloved, there is a spiritual altar in our hearts which must be properly prepared for us to experience Godís divine presence and all round victory. Just as the children of Israel suffered setbacks as direct consequences of their disregard for God and neglect of the sacred altar, majority of our troubles as believers can be traced to the state of our relationship with God. When something goes wrong with our relationship with God, everything goes wrong with us! Our relationship with God determines everything about the life we live! The present state we find ourselves as individuals and church is a reflection of the state of our altar and relationship with God. Lives of many are being torn apart, homes are breaking, marriages are crumbling, destinies are wasting away, and the church is losing her relevance in the present generation all because our altars of intimate relationship with God are broken. Our greatest undoing as believers is neglecting intimate relationship with God.
For those of us who desire true victory and divine visitation in year 2010 and beyond, the first thing is to repair the broken altars of our relationship with God. God desires very intimate relationship with us and we cannot afford to offer him back seat in the affairs of our lives. The strength we need for the journey of life as believers can only be tapped in the place of daily and consistent communion with the Holy Spirit Ė ĎFor in Him we live, in Him we move and in Him we have our beingí. Our hearts must be fully prepared to seek God passionately and know Him intimately, nothing is more important! Those who treasure their relationship with God do not joke with their personal altar of intimacy with God for this is what offers the assurance of victory in life and ministry.