Crystal Writes A Blog

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Altar Ego


Altat at Christ Church by Flickr User Seetheholyland.net, CC License = Attribution, Share Alike

Altar at Christ Church by Flickr User Seetheholyland.net, CC License = Attribution, Share Alike
Click image to open new tab/window to view original image and to access user’s full photo stream with many more Holy Land images at Flickr.

I’m not sure if the close spelling between alter and altar are intentional, but I do find it interesting that we go to an altar in order to alter our futures. Through an altar built to Yahveh, we can alter an attitude, a destiny, or a focus. We can make decisions based on seeking God’s perfect will for our lives simply by using an altar to alter our commitments from self to God.

When I was a kid, I used to like a song by Tom T. Hall called “Me and Jesus.” The last two sentences in the chorus said, “Me and Jesus got our own thing goin’. We don’t need anybody to tell us what it’s all about.” I just liked it as a “Jesus” song with a fun rhythm, but with maturity in God, I now know how self-centered the thought process of that song was. While a man can make an altar out of a stone, and while we need a personal relationship with Christ, we also need humility to surrender to God and let Him run the show. Think of it this way: One word for self is the word “ego.” The letters in the word “ego” can stand for “edging God out.”

In today’s reading from Exodus 27:1 through Exodus 27:8, Moses receives the instructions for building the brazen (bronze) altar. Because the instructions include meat hooks, fire pans, and pots and shovels for removing ashes, this is the altar where sacrifices will alter the destinies of those who would otherwise be condemned by their sins.

Without an altar to change things, men just received the natural recompense for their actions until the sins of the day came to a point of destroying life on this earth. The corruption (moth, rust, dust, disease, etc.) so tainted the life God planned for those created in His image that He had to destroy the earth and all but eight people. But now, He is giving people a definitive set of rules and a way to receive mercy when those rules are violated. Just like the blood that was shed in the garden when God slayed an animal to cover the sins of Adam and Eve, there will now be an altar to receive the blood that will–at least temporarily–cover the sins of the people when a sacrifice is made for those sins.

As with other furnishings, there will be poles and staves to carry this altar from place to place as the tabernacle travels with the people. As with other brass-covered furnishings, the priests are not able to approach the altar without seeing themselves in the reflection of it. This may be similar to the reference in James 1:23-24 where it talks of those who are hearers of the Word but not doers. It says they are like men who behold themselves in a mirror, and then walk away and forget the type of man they just saw. Oh that, instead, we would all approach an altar seeing ourselves in honesty as we make ready to sacrifice and abandon ourselves to God’s perfect will for our lives. That’s an “altar ego.”

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February 6, 2014 - Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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