Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Work (07/27/06)
TITLE: The Bronze Altar
By william price
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Oholiab ran towards the fallen body of his friend and pulled him away from the fiery coals he was working over. His cracked, sun-baked hands dipped into a bucket of cool water that he dripped over the sweaty forehead of the one God chose to build His desert Tabernacle.
“I see you breathing. Open your eyes now.”
Oholiab’s large calloused right hand patted Bazalel on the side of his face until he blinked his eyes and came to his senses.
“Where am I?”
“You’re outside the camp at the furnace. Was it the heat my friend, or another vision?”
Bezalel slowly sat up and wiped the water and perspiration off his rugged face.
“I was working the bronze for the altar, and in the fire I saw a great king making sacrifices in the tent. The Tabernacle was in its completed form. Then I saw a man being nailed to a tree. His broken body made me sorrowful. He lifted His head and said he loved me. As I wiped my tears I saw this man’s scarred feet, they seemed to melt into the glowing bronze in the furnace I was working on. I fell down to worship, and I woke up here.”
“What does it all mean?”
“I’m not sure, my friend. God keeps reminding me, what we are working on is something bigger than we see. I cannot interpret it. I just feel the heart of God in my visions and know I’m doing the right thing.”
“Tell me this then, why would God appoint me to work with one as gifted as you, Bezalel? You certainly are talented enough to be in charge alone.”
“We both are needed my friend. When I see the plans for the Tabernacle, I see God’s love making a way where there seems to be no way out of this desert. I see this as God, Himself, coming down to earth to show how much He loves us. You, Oholiab, see these plans as a blueprint. You keep the zeal of all the workers focused on the task of completing the Tabernacle exactly as God described. Whatever this sanctuary represents to future generations, it still has to be built now. You, Oholiab, are God’s choice to make certain it is done His way. Now, you go make sure the other craftsmen are doing what they are supposed to. I want to show Moses this altar before Sabbath begins tomorrow."
“You know Bezalel, you have so much wisdom, I pray that your gift inspires and strengthens all those who sacrifice on this altar when it is finished.”
"Thank you my friend. I think all of us here are working on what God has called us to do for His reasons, today and the years to come. Now you go, I’ll be fine.”
King Solomon stood before the bronze altar in the Tent of Meeting in Gibeon. The new King had summoned all of Israel there to inquire of the Lord. He had tears in his eyes as he looked at the workmanship of Bezalel. His gaze shifted to the other delicate, detailed furnishings in the tent. He was amazed at what was accomplished with not much more than willing and obedient hearts in the desert.
Oh God, you are great. I see what you created with your people in a dry a desolate place. And now, you have given me so much. What will you require of me with all I have? Your love feels so strong here. How can I instill that in your people? God, as I burn these thousand sacrifices for you, I ask that you help me to do your work, to continue this labor of love I see in this tent.
That night, after the ceremonies and before God would visit King Solomon in a dream, the freshly cleansed bronze altar stood in the empty Tent of Meeting. Someone in bare feet approached it. A comely looking male figure crawled up on the moon lit, aged altar and knelt in prayer. Drops of his sweat splashed on the altar. When he finished praying his hands seemed to caress the well worn, scarred bronze, feeling the coolness of the metal. He then whispered, “Well done my faithful Bezalel, well done.” The man then eased off the altar and entered into the Holy of Holies.
* Based on scriptures in Exodus Chapter 36, Second Chronicles Chapter One and Revelation 1:15.
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