By: carole l. haines
I was so struck by this subtitle this morning in the Book of Ezra! I have felt the need to rebuild the Altar of God in my own life lately, an Altar of Worship. There are times where we lose our footing, our direction, that sense of God’s Presence. Sometimes it is because of sin in our own lives. Sometimes it just happens, or we slowly slip away through busyness, etc. Either way, we wake up eventually, and realize that we are not as close to God as we used to be, and we desperately miss Him. Sometimes we feel too ashamed to share with our Brothers and Sisters in Christ that we feel lost and miss God so much. This is, above all things, foolishness. We need to share this truth so that others can come alongside us and spur us on, encourage us in the Word and help us seek the face of God, together, instead of alone. I am bringing this before you, Dear Body, this morning for myself. In the Book of Ezra, they rebuilt the Altar of God that had been torn down by enemies. Some of our enemies are outside of us, but from my own experience, and from what others have told me; our greatest enemy is ourselves, our flesh. It comes from within.
3 So they set up the altar on its foundation, for they were terrified because of the peoples of the lands; and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, burnt offerings morning and evening. 4 They celebrated the Feast of Booths, as it is written, and offered the fixed number of burnt offerings daily, according to the ordinance, as each day required; 5 and afterward there was a continual burnt offering, also for the new moons and for all the fixed festivals of the Lord that were consecrated, and from everyone who offered a freewill offering to the Lord. 6 From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, but the foundation of the temple of the Lord had not been laid. ( Ezra 3)
Notice here that the Temple Foundation had not been laid yet. They chose to Rebuild the Altar of Sacrifice and Worship first. We must do the same in situations like what I described here for myself. God has given me two verses to ponder and seek His leading about. They are instructions on how to come closer to Him once again.
1) 9 For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. (2 Chronicles 16) God in His mercy is showing me just how compromised and watered-down my faith has become. His kindness toward me, in sharing this with me, is overwhelming. I want my Heart to be completely His, as it once was. I know He will teach me how to make it so.
2) 2 Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. 3 Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. (Revelation 3) Now this sounds harsh, but God whispered it to me gently, and instructed me to go back to the simplicity I once knew in seeking Him, when I first knew Him. It is so easy to have layers of tasks and traditions heaped upon us, as we pursue this life of faith journey. Let us go back to the purity and simplicity of Devotion to Christ Jesus alone, seeking Him earnestly. I know someone needed to hear this encouragement to come back to God fully, just as much as I needed to write it. If this is you, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can encourage one another in our faith. God Bless your day.