Then God said to Jacob, “Go up to Betheland settle there, and build an altarthere to God,who appeared to youwhen you were fleeing from your brother Esau.”
So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.” So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the oak at Shechem. Then they set out, and the terror of God fell on the towns all around them so that no one pursued them.
Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan. There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel, because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.
What do you do when you have something big happen in your life and you want to remember it?
Photos, journals, create something, throw a party, have a ceremony.
God called on his people to build Altars to give thanks, worship and remember what He did in their lives. He wanted them to place a marker in their lives to remember that interaction with him, and not just the person or persons it happened to, but to the following generations. Communion is an example or type of "Altar" as Jesus says "Do this in remembrance of me".
An Altar is a place that is designed or separated for worship unto God; a place of fellowship with God. It is a place where praises and prayers are rendered unto God. An Altar symbolizes holiness and represents the presence of God; a higher place where untarnished (spotless, blameless) services are offered to God. An Altar could be a place where intercession is happening for the well being of others inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Altars can be classified into three
1) Church Altar- The Church itself is an Altar, it serves as a unified place of worship for Christians or individuals coming together to pour out their hearts to God.
2) Family or Home Altar- A place where family members meet for the purpose of communing, fellowshipping, praising, worshipping, and praying to God.
3) Personal Altar- As the name implies is a personal means of communication and fellowshipping with God. It is otherwise called 'Quiet Time'. This is a time you have assigned/committed/ set aside for God to meet with Him on 'one-on-one' level or basis. It comes with a specific time at which you seek the face of God though worship, praises, thanksgiving and prayer. It is better early in the morning where there is little or no disturbance. The essence is to hear and talk to God; it ensures a direct link with God.
One other form of Altar would be a Corporate Altar- the coming together of individuals from different denomination or churches to pray, worship and render praises unto God.
An Altar is a thing of heart (Jeremiah 29:12-13)
In most things with the Lord there is order with that there are some factors that are necessary for an Altar building such as. . Genuine Salvation (Psalm 24:3-4), Passion/Hunger for the Presence of God (1 Kings 5:5), Faith (Hebrews 11:5), Holiness (1 Peter 1:16).
Why is an Altar necessary? To worship, praise and communicate with God , for thanksgiving, to make vows and consecration unto God, to live a victorious life, a blessed and satisfied life, to meet God for divine intervention and breakthrough. A few others are healing, deliverance, and provision.
I chose these notes from an old bible study leader/ mentor on building Altars to share with you this week. I was driving to work and was overwhelmed with gratitude and the presence of the Father and the victories that I had recently. Right after that quick moment I was reminded of this building Altars study. Some takeaways I had after going through that a while back was that most of us will have personal Altars that we go back to; that being physically or revisiting it in our minds. Places and moments in time where we were met by the Lord in a big way it was so evident that He was there working in us.
It's good to revisit those places for encouragement, remembering what the Lord has done, and meeting Him with a thankful heart. These Altars or Holy places we create for ourselves can be a space in our home where we commune with the Father daily. For some it could be your favorite chair, or spot on the couch, your bed or nook in your home where you settle and rest to spend time with Him. Honestly I think for me a space I've created for myself is my car. Yes people enter and go out from my car on occasion but when I'm alone especially long drives it becomes an intentional space for me to meet with the Lord. Building Spiritual Altars brings us even closer to Him. Think about those moments where Altars were built and looking foward how you can be intentional to build those with the intention of remembering who He is and drawing closer to Him.