Maintenance culture for the altar
Every product you see in the market has a maintenance pattern, which, if not duly followed, will lead to its malfunction. In the same vein, there is a procedure of maintenance which we must follow to ensure that our altar remains intact. If we fail to, we will be back to square one, building and rebuilding a broken altar
Before the giving of the commandment, God showed Himself to Moses in strong flames of fire around a bush. And although the bush was burning, it was not consumed. Later on, when God was leading the Israelites out of Egypt, He appeared as a pillar of fire at night. Then, came the law for the burnt offering. The altar fire was to be kept burning; never was it to be put out.
Significance of the burning – One major feature of a living and lively altar is fire. And it is even more significant that God Himself directed such a continual burning. One reason the continuous burning was so important is that it was stated directly by God; “and there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar, the burnt offering and the fat…”. The fire on the altar, therefore, served as a reminder of God’s presence among the people. It was a gift from heaven.
In addition, the fire represented God’s presence, as God is a consuming fire. The Shekinah glory was visible in the fire at the altar of burnt offerings. This on-going presence of God reminded the Israelite that salvation is of the Lord.
Also, in the New Testament, John the Baptist predicted that the messiah would baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire. Fire served as a sign of judgement and refining. This was also established at Pentecost when the Holy Ghost came upon them like as “cloven tongues of fire”.
The burning flamed of fire continuously assisted to make the Israelite remember the realness of the presence of God and their thirst for God’s need. This token of God’s presence remained all through the wilderness experience and was lit again at the dedication of the temple.
Packing out the ashes Anyone familiar with the use of firewood or charcoal knows that if the ashes are left still at the spot of burning, it will sooner than later put out the fire. God specifically instructed that the ashes be brought “without the camp unto a clean place.” What are the ashes hindering the burning as it relates to us? Often we live on the laps of past glory or the testimonies of yesterday. Nothing new is happening.
If we continue to live on the laps of the past or ride on past testimonies without reaching forth for more, we will become stale. We must not allow our past testimonies to becloud us into thinking that we have arrived. Having packed out the ashes, we need to stoke the fire. We need to add more wood to ensure a continuous burning. How, you ask?
- By a regular and balanced study of the word (both personal and corporate). Don’t just focus on His promises, study about His judgements and justice too.
- By an effectual prayer life. Pray scriptural prayers that focus on His will being done on earth, not selfish and self-centered prayers.
- Personal retreats. Beyond what you get under a corporate anointing, set out quality time to wait on God. It should not be a time of treating wounds or requests-centered. The singular request should be “that I may know Him”.