Daily Service – Build an altar of praise
Worship is not cheap; it costs to build an altar –
2 Samuel 24:18-25 (ESV) And Gad came that day to David and said to him, “Go up, raise an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” So David went up at Gad’s word, as the LORD commanded. And when Araunah looked down, he saw the king and his servants coming on toward him. And Araunah went out and paid homage to the king with his face to the ground. And Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, in order to build an altar to the LORD, that the plague may be averted from the people.” Then Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him. Here are the oxen for the burnt offering and the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the LORD your God accept you.” But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD responded to the plea for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel.
There are those unprepared to pay the price, to whom worship must be convenient to be meaningful.
• The altar was built out of rubble, broken pieces of life!
An altar built from the rubble of our brokenness, our frustration, our fear –
Psalm 42:5-8 (ESV) Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation, and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me. By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
Eventually the altar changed. Before the imposing, golden altars of the Tabernacle and Temple, the altar was a pile of rocks PERSONALLY built for much-needed encounters with God at whatever place you were at whatever time it was necessary.
In the Temple and Tabernacle, the altar was static, less personal more national.
The danger of formal religious structures, like our church buildings, is that they take the place of intimate, personal worship.
• Worship is not a fast food experience, a drive-through meal!
When Moses retired for the night Joshua could not help but linger in THE presence
Exodus 33:7-11 (ESV) Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise up, and each would stand at his tent door, and watch Moses until he had gone into the tent. When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the LORD would speak with Moses. And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, each at his tent door. Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.
The Bible never encourages an institutional approach to worship, look at the Song of Solomon, why else is it there if not to inspire the deep intimacy of hearts in love with Jesus?
• The altar of worship is not a place, it’s a lifestyle!
I want you to hear heavens call to worship today –
Revelation 5:11-14 (ESV) Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
This is God’s call to you and I. Not to more meetings but to a personal, transforming encounter with his presence.
Some people do not need more counselling, preaching or even deliverance, they need to see Jesus. They need to meet him at an altar, a humble altar built from the rubble of our brokenness and pain, our frustration and fear.
At that place he comes in sovereign power to set the captives free!
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