Repairing The Altar For The Fire To Fall
And Elijah …. repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down …. Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench ~ 1 Kings 18:30-38.
God wants the Church to be His true Church once again! Hence, He’s making a clarion call for His people to repair their altars and return to the place of fire, so that He can pour out His love, power, revival and healing once more.
Today, an honest look at the condition of the Church in many places reveals weaknesses, powerlessness, lethargy, and decline. The fire of revival has dimmed, or has been greatly hindered by the encroachments of sin, the flesh and the devil.
As it was in Elijah’s days, an increasing number of churches, pastors and prophets are now compromising with strange fire, and accommodating the doctrines and the worship of “Baalim”. Many erstwhile altars of righteousness are being transformed into passionate houses of prostitution and misguided commitments, torn down and the stones scattered.
Remember that the prophets of Baal also had passion, commitment and great energy. What they didn’t have was a God in heaven who answers by fire, and an altar acceptable to Him. On the contrary, Elijah’s petition was very brief and solemn, but it produced spectacular results. The difference was in the One being consulted.
Meanwhile, the major trouble is not necessarily about the pastors, the prophets or even the doctrines alone. Rather, it is the general "broken altars” in the lives of God's people. We all must return to God in true surrender, so His power will manifest on our altars again!
Basically, the altar is where the physical contacts the spiritual; where human beings go to contact a deity, either God or demons. The regular requirement is that you prepare this meeting place. However, the altar we are referring to here is the Lord’s altar, where human beings connect with the Supreme Jehovah-God.
The Lord’s altar is the place of total surrender, new-birth, consecration, prayers, worship, praise, thanksgiving, healing and baptism in the Holy Spirit. It is a place of sacrifice, and a place where destinies are altered mysteriously by the power of the Most High God. Albeit, the repairing of this altar is your own responsibility.
In Luke 24:49, the disciples were commanded to tarry in the city of Jerusalem until they were clothed with power from on high. They were shut up in the Upper Room, so to say, for fifty days for spiritual preparations until the day of Pentecost. Thereafter, God poured out His Spirit upon them (Acts 1:4).
Meanwhile, only 120 men and women were in that room as against the over 500 brethren who were qualified candidates for the experience (1 Corinthians 15:6). Why didn’t they all make it to the Upper Room? Yes, some of them had fallen asleep. But, perhaps some others didn’t feel like they needed any such “painful spiritual preparations” to change anything.
There are many believers like that in the churches today, who think they don’t need to change anything and don’t even want the Lord to deal with them about any issue. However, if we hope to truly experience the fire of the Holy Spirit in our generation, we must be ready to repair the altars of the Lord that have broken down!
The Real Altars Today!
God commanded the priests at the tabernacle that the fire upon the altar shall be ever burning in it (Leviticus 6:12). That’s how we are to shine forth, as light in the darkness, perpetually. Meanwhile, the hearts of God’s people are the real altars today, and that’s where the fire of the Lord burns!
Man’s greatest enemy is his own deceived and deluded heart! Even then, God knows us better, and He’s still saying, “Son, give Me your heart” (1 Samuel 16:7; Psalms 139:25; Proverbs 1:2-3). If there will ever be a revival in our days, we must repair our hearts, just like Elijah did with the Lord’s altar.
Is the altar of your heart broken down? Is it now hardened, critical, bitter, unforgiving, unbelieving, carnal, disobedient, disloyal, or uncultivated? We must slay uncleanliness, lasciviousness, adultery, enmity, strife, jealousy, wrath, divisions, heresies, rebellion, disobedience, envy, permissiveness, drunkenness, lying, pride, levity, stealing, suspicion, unbelief, revelry, party spirit, and effrontery.
Wherever the altar has broken down, we must repair it today. Broken vows? Stunted family altars? Arrested love, zeal and eagerness to serve God? Empty prayer closets? Those things can hold us back from the Lord’s fire. In particular, it’s in the place of waiting on God that He works on our hearts for our inward transformation.
We must make big rooms for God in our hearts, desiring to know Him better, discovering what pleases Him and honoring Him above all else. Then, God will in turn reform our hearts, and His fire will fall again to greatly impact the world!
Repairing the Altar According to Pattern
Please note that Elijah didn’t build a new altar; he rather repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. You can’t repair what was nonexistent. There was once an altar of the LORD at Carmel, active, strong and used in the past for the worship of Jehovah-God. This was the altar that Elijah seized the moment to rebuild.
If your heart has never connected with God through the new-birth experience, you cannot talk of repairing it. You cannot revive what was never alive. Moreover, there must be a sacrifice on the repaired altar. It is when God sees a sacrifice on the altar that He sends the fire.
The trouble with many Christians today is that they want the fire, but aren’t ready for the sacrifice. God sends the fire only when you lay yourself as a living sacrifice on the altar unto God (Romans 12:1-2).
Furthermore, Elijah asked that water be poured on the sacrifice and on the wood. This he did, confident that there is nothing too hard for God (Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:27). He could ignite His fire on a wet sacrifice, and He did! Besides, water had become an essential commodity then because of the prolonged drought. Hence, Elijah poured it to demonstrate his extravagant love for God.
More importantly, water in this context also speaks of the Word (Ephesians 5:26; John 15:3; Psalm 119:9). If we want God’s fire on our side, our broken-down altars must be rebuilt in accordance with God’s Word. God's warriors must first be God's acceptable worshippers.
Meanwhile, whenever God’s fire falls, the result is always beyond human expectations. It would have been enough if only the sacrifice was ignited when the fire fell, but it also consumed the wood, the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water. God will always exceedingly glorify Himself among His people.
When the altar is properly repaired, you can expect instant answers to your prayers, even as your full potential in Christ becomes activated to terminate severe privations, and to make you a unique blessing to your generation (Psalm 50:14-15).
In conclusion, the Holy Ghost fire is never for vainglory, but for God’s glory. When the fire fell, all the people fell on their faces, exclaiming, “The LORD, He is the God!”. The days of Elijah are still here with us, and God’s glory must remain our highest objective in every spiritual contest. You won’t miss out, in Jesus name. Amen. Happy Sunday!
- Bishop Taiwo Akinola,
Rhema Christian Church,
Otta, Ogun State, Nigeria.
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