“So Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down.” 1 Kings 18:30 NKJV
“Rebuild the altar, Samuel…rebuild the altar.”
This ongoing theme has been the common phrase in my life, over the past year or so; and more emphasized over the past month. Often the Lord will call you down memory lane, where you are given the opportunity to gaze upon His goodness in times past, all the while setting yourself up for success in the days to come. The very fact that God knows the end from the beginning, should blow our minds; but even more so that He desires for us to embrace that truth and live in it; should ultimately change the daily course of our lives.
And now I write this post, not simply from a place of fresh understanding of this text, in my life. But I write it because I have lived it, learned it, wrestled with it, and ultimately allowed its truth to permeate every part of my being. This truth that I so passionately write, is that in the past year God has called me to do one major thing:
1) Rebuild the Altar of the Lord
Now to be completely honest, at the beginning of this year of transition and learning, I had not the slightest clue what this phrase meant. I didn’t know that the call to fulfill the Father’s desire for me was ultimately rooted in holiness and sacrificing myself on the altar of the Lord. I didn’t know that my "yes" to God, had to be real, authentic, and genuine and not simply a well-polished idea lacking in the actions and accountability that proved its worth. And that my "no" to the spirit of ambition had to be concrete and not build on a foundation of hay and stubble.
I didn’t know what it meant to rebuild the altar of the Lord. All I knew was that it had been torn down…
The truth remains that so often I had the desire to meet with God, in a place of holy encounter; but I lacked the place where He has always been known to meet those He loved—on an altar with a ready sacrifice. Can I let you in on a secret…God loves altars! I am not exactly sure what it is about them, if it’s where they are placed, or the method by which they come about; but I know that He loves and always comes to visit places where things have come to be sacrificed for no greater purpose than to glorify His name.
In fact, Elijah stood and declared this truth to a gathered people, well over several thousand years ago. He told them that in order for God to greet them with a holy encounter they had to meet Him in the way in which He enjoyed—“The way of the altar.”
And as soon as I made up in my mind to rebuild the altar of the Lord in my own life, that’s when I came into a place of holy encounter, true, faithful, and life changing. But the fact remains, this was not a new thing for God, but a historic truth that He called me to walk into.