Secrets of the Altar Lesson 6: Not just Any Tree
Updated: Nov 2, 2019
In lesson one we have talked about the type of wood used to make this very special altar; shitteem (acacia). In lesson five we examined the horns in the same way, by looking at the meanings of the Hebrew letters, but there is more to learn from this wood and the horns.
The root system is phenomenal. This allows it to thrive in desert areas during drought and also keeps the ground it lives on from washing away when floods come. It's a survivor. It brings welcome shade It has sunburst flowers that bloom in early spring. It also has thorns, big thorns.
All of these things can be beautifully applied to prayer:
When we pray, we stay. Prayer brings peace and rest when we are going through the heat or the flood of difficult times. Prayer brings new life as God allows the first sign of spring in our weary lives. But, there are thorns, and herein lies the paradox and the reason for this lesson.
The acacia tree could very well have been the source for:
the thorns used in the crown of Christ at His crucifixion. the whip used to flog him before His crucifixion the wood for the cross used at His crucifixion
This tree not only speaks of life but of death and sacrifice. It reminds us of the supreme sacrifice Jesus made for us and, though we are loth to remember, that we too are to lead a life of self-sacrifice if we are to be like Jesus.
Our flesh seems to make this connection and do all it can to keep us from prayer.
"NO! Don't flog me! I want to be comfortable!" Our flesh screams at us when we head toward a time of prayer. Then our flesh reminds us that it's hungry, or that we have so many other things to do.
Yes, our flesh hates sacrifice.
Now I want to return to the horns of the altar. We will look at animals and how they use their horns. The main reason is to fight for dominance and on occasion, to fight for their lives.
As humans, we don't have horns to protect ourselves, but in our prayer life, we can do battle with the enemies of our soul. The devil wants to be the dominant force in our lives. He wants us to think of ourselves more than others and have uncharitable thoughts toward others. Who will win this battle of the mind? Are you fighting?
Where do we get the power to battle Satan and his imps? From the altar of sacrifice.
If you were to enter the Hebrew temple, the altar of sacrifice is the first piece of furniture you encounter. It is much larger than the altar of incense, and for good reason. The fire for the altar of incense comes from a burning coal brought from this altar of sacrifice. Without this, the incense could not burn. It could not fulfill its purpose.
Likewise, a place of death to self-will must be our first encounter if we want Jesus to wash us and give us power in prayer.
Sacrifice can take many forms. Here are three examples:
-- You want to take a class, but the class is the same time as the church service you know you should be at. What do you do? Listen to your reasoning that it is just for a while or forgo the class to obey God and be faithful to church attendance? The size of this sacrifice depends on you, but it is a sacrifice none the less.
-- You have just been snubbed by another at church. Then you find out they have been spreading untruths about you. Can you forgive?
-- Family is coming to town, but they are arriving on a church night. What to do? Who comes first in your heart, family or Christ?
Sacrifice is a four-letter word: fast, pray, obey. There are many types of sacrifices large and small that are part of a daily walk with God. When we put aside our will, God will guide our lives, and we will have the fire of GOD for our altar of prayer.