I had a vision of a wide, rising river. I saw a large stone being placed in the middle of the river and somehow I knew this was to be the first stone of an altar.
Shortly after I had this vision I heard the Lord give an invitation to build an altar at North Battleford, Saskatchewan. A national prayer initiative for Canada will take place there from November 1-10, 2018. You can read about it on this website
In the Old Testament the building of an altar commemorated a meeting with God. An altar was built when land was purchased or claimed as God’s territory. Noah, Moses, Abraham, and Isaac all built altars when they encountered God. Jacob built an altar at the place where he saw the angels ascending and descending from heaven on the ladder and at the place he wrestled with the angel. God told Joshua the first thing he must do upon entry into the promised land was to build an altar. It was a symbol of putting God first in order to have victory
Exodus 20:24 – ‘You shall make an altar of earth for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen; in every place where I cause My name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you”.
An altar is a place where His name or His fame is remembered. There is a story in Joshua 22 about the tribes of Israel almost going to war with each other over an altar. The tribes of Reuben and Gad the only ones on the other side of the river from the other ten tribes. They built their own altar and this was, at first taken as sacrilege to the one true altar of the temple. They explained this altar had not been built to offer sacrifices on but to teach future generations to remember the Lord. It was a memorial altar. Joshua 22:34 – “The sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad called the altar Witness; “For,” they said, “it is a witness between us that the LORD is God.”
Altars also signified the place where men found peace with God. There was an allowance for a man who was being pursued by his enemy even if he was guilty to find asylum by grabbing the horns of the altar. 1 Kings 1: 51
We find David’s example in Chronicles 21 that an altar is meant to cost something. He is offered a piece of land for free but insists on paying full price for it because he would not build an altar to God on land that cost him nothing. God answered with fire!
God called Elijah to break down the altar to Baal and repair the altar of the Lord. 1 Kings 18:30 – Then 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 which had been torn down.” The Hebrew word used for repair of the altar is Raphe the same word we get when we call Jehovah our Rapha our Healer, our Physician. To raphe the altar meant to heal a national hurt, to restore favour to the nation.
How do we build an altar today? Perhaps it would be good to say first what it is not. I am not talking about any kind of sacrifice or religious duty that would be a type of penance to get right with God or to manipulate Him to act on our behalf. But He is the same yesterday, today and forever. God is still calling,, “Come, let us reason together.” He is still interested in our participation. Even if all we have to offer Him is our need. Today the ultimate altar, of course, is the table of the Lord, where we have communion and we remember His sacrifice that covers all our sins.
This is a time to remember His fame, to call upon His faithfulness to previous generations. To repent on behalf of the church for not putting Him first. We confess the altar of the Lord is broken down and we have idolized other things. We ask Him, Jehovah Raphe to help us to repair the altar of the Lord. We seek Him to have mercy and restore favour to our nation. Every prayer, every act of worship in song, obedience, financial offering, intercession or fasting is like laying one stone on another on the altar.
This November is a time that has been set apart for Christians of many denominations to come together as one, to renew the commitment to God that Canada had at its beginning and pray that He would revive our land. I hope that you will consider being a part of it.
LORD WE HAVE HEARD OF YOUR FAME WE STAND IN AWE OF YOUR DEEDS, O LORD
RENEW THEM IN OUR DAY, AND IN OUR TIME MAKE THEM KNOWN
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