REPAIRING THE ALTAR

Andy Hollifield 5-2-18
1 Kings 18:30-32 And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. (31) And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the Lord came, saying, Israel shall be thy name: (32) And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord: And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.
I know that I write a lot about Elijah but it is because there is so much to glean from his life and ministry. I just happened to think about the odds that he was up against on Mount Carmel. We know that there were 450 prophets of Baal but if that wasn’t bad enough most, if not all, of the bystanders were also against him. I am thankful that God doesn’t operate on polls or numbers to determine his course of action. Just like he did in chapter 6 when he opened the servant’s eyes, he proved that he is always the majority. The horses and chariots of fire that covered the hillsides around them, proved to the servant that God wasn’t limited by what man saw but there was more going on than what he could see.
As Elijah got started that day on the mountain, the very first thing he done was repair the altar that had been broken down. That got me to thinking about what the greatest need is in our homes, our churches, and in our country. That need is prayer. The first thing we need to do in our lives is to repair our altars. I am not talking about physical altars but rather the altars in our heart. Did you notice what Elijah used to repair the altar? He used stones. He used twelve stones signifying the number of tribes of God’s people. I wonder if the altar was broken down from lack of use. That is what happens to ours a lot of times isn’t it?
Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” I believe that Jesus said that to Peter because Peter was going to be the one that Christ was going to send to preach to the Gentiles first. He was also the first to stand up at Pentecost and preach after the Holy Ghost had appeared as “cloven tongues like as of fire and it sat upon each of them.” Although there were a lot of things in Peter’s life that he was the first or only one to do, the key to his ministry, just like that of Elijah, all goes back to prayer. Were it not for the vision that God gave to Peter on the housetop where he had went to pray, someone else may have been the one to take the gospel to the Gentiles. Peter’s name even means a “rock or a stone;” Petros.
Then there is the number of stones that Elijah used: twelve, one for each of the tribes of Israel. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:11 “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Mark 12:10 spoke of Jesus saying “And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner.” Paul went on in 2 Timothy 2:19 “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” Paul had previously said in 1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Revelation 21:14 says “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. I am sure that Elijah had no idea what all he was representing when he repaired the altar using those twelve stones. It went far beyond the sons of Jacob.
Without prayer being made unto the Lord, an altar is useless. Prayer was so important to the disciples that they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. Without that prayer of Elijah, the repentance of the people would have likely never occurred. He had prayed in 1 Kings 18:37 “Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.” That’s faith isn’t it? He was praying about the people’s hearts being turned back in past tense before they had even repented. In verse 39 after the fire had fallen, the bible says, “And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God.” Not only did his prayer “that the people may know” come to pass, but it was so convincing that the people said “He is the God” not just saying “He is God” but put the emphasis on “The God.” No other one but him.
When we ever get to the place where we are totally convinced that “The Lord, he is the God,” then we too will repair our altars that “The people may know.” If we as individuals, families, churches, and a nation, ever turn our heart back again to the Lord, then the people will know that “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” It is high time that we were “repairing the altar” in our lives by using it as we should. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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