In my book, The Altar of His Presence, we studied some of the geographical places where altars were built and graced with the Lord’s manifested Presence to those of precious faith. These hallowed sites are known either because of the divine revelations or angelic appearances that supplemented the building of an altar. Mostly for sacrificing, sometimes only as a memorial, altars were named.
Moses named his Jehovah Nissi, and Gideon named his the Lord is Peace. Others, like the one built by the leaders of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh, were not for burnt offering, nor sacrifice, but as a witness and testimony (see Josh. 22:26-27). Altars were made only of earth or unhewn stone on which no iron tool was used and without steps going up to them (see Exod. 20:24-26). With each of them there was neither spectacle nor decoration allowed. The altar was to be plain and simple, for it was the meeting place between God and man and therefore a place of shedding of blood without which there is no remission of sin (see Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22). The altar is a place of interaction with the Lord for us only through the offering of an innocent life.
From our solar system’s blazing hot sun to the tiniest moon in Jupiter’s orbit and everything in between, God has places. An altar is a place of purpose that conveys this truth—the Lord wants to meet with us. What could be the purpose of human beings having a meeting place with God? For what purpose would God choose the altar as His place to meet with man? Perhaps you have similar questions about the possible alien visitations or odd manifestations found at Stonehenge or Easter Island.
Apparently, the early patriarchs found the real answer. Surviving worldwide flood, generations-destroying famine, and the loss of mankind’s righteousness for sin, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and Elijah all built altars. Upon these altars these men of faith offered sacrifices to the Lord as an offering of thanksgiving and praise for the Lord’s guidance, protection, sustenance, strength, or blessing. Each one found the altar’ed life as promised in Exodus 30:6.
Each altar had one ultimate purpose. That purpose was to create a meeting place with the Lord God Almighty. The Hebrew mind viewed the altar as a place where men and women came to worship. It was the place where the passion for and the movement toward the Lord came together. At an altar, Abel offered his finest lamb, while Noah’s provided a sweet aroma that rose to the Lord. Where Abraham’s altar saw the salvation of a promised son; Joshua’s celebrated the entrance into the Promised Land. Gideon’s altar saw deliverance, and Elijah’s changed a nation.
Through the day where is the place that you meet with the Lord? Can you sense the sweet stirrings of the Holy Spirit there? Are you tired of living without passion or unfulfilled purpose? Does your heart still thirst for the living water of the Spirit as the deer pants for a cool mountain stream?
If you haven’t found a trysting place, do so now. Find an uncommon place, either in space or time, to get together with the Lord and His people. Meet regularly. Wait patiently. Call expectantly. Pray unceasingly. At the altar, the Lord will meet you. Every meeting you have with Him will alter your life toward the divine plan and purpose given to you by the Lord.