Thursday, February 27, 2014

Is Your All On Which Altar?

"Is Your All On the Altar?"  is one of my favorite hymns is It is a constant reminder to do a heart-check: What am I holding back? Yet the other day, God brought a new question to light: "Upon which altar are you laying your all?"

King Ahaz (2 Kings 16:10-16) saw the Assyrian's pagan altar and immediately came home and patterned one identical to it. With this new altar, King Ahaz replaced the old altar that had been in the forefront of God's house -- the "old" altar being God's altar. He never stopped sacrificing, he just replaced to whom he was sacrificing.

We might live a life of continual sacrifice, but it does not mean that we are sacrificing on God's altar. We may have built an "altar" of the world, our dreams, or our ambitions. We may even have "good material" for our altar (family, friends, projects, gifts, talents) but instead of sacrificing this "good material" to let God use as He please, we have instead made it the altar upon which we sacrifice.

Romans 12:1 exhorts, " I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." To be a "living sacrifice" is a process of killing "self" -- a willingness to change as God chooses to change us and surrendering our "right" to maintain our vision, cause and purpose to His. It is to place our all (our whole being) upon God's altar and leave the results up to Him.

Perhaps God is calling us to sacrifice something painful or dear to us -- an ambition, a dream, a lifestyle, or even our livelihood. Elisha, when the prophet Elijah anointed him to be prophet, immediately  "took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him." (1 Kings 19:21) Just two verses prior, Elisha had been using those very oxen to plow his field. To follow God's call, Elisha did not hesitate to give up his livelihood -- to lay his all on the altar of God. He did not stop to ask "what-ifs." He was willing to change directions as soon as God made it known to him which direction he should change. He gave unhesitant surrender.

Is God's altar in the fore-front of our lives, or have we substituted it with another altar? The question is not "are you sacrificing?" but, "are you sacrificing to GOD?"

Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?
Your heart, does the Spirit control?
You can never be blessed, and have peace and sweet rest,
As you yield Him your body and soul.

Elisha A. Hoffman

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