Altar Activity

I’m reading Genesis and the account of the flood. It strikes me that Noah and his family lived inside this ark for months and months. I think about all this time living inside in the COVID-19 world with my own family and animals. The passage hits differently; I’m resonating with this story in a fresh way.

When it’s finally time to leave the ark (and I think about when we’ll all return to normal living outside of our homes), guess what Noah does? Guess what this unprecedented and vital thing is?

He builds an altar to the Lord. It’s the first altar recorded in scripture. Noah makes a sacrifice to the Lord. I haven’t paid much attention to the presence of altars in the Bible, but today, I read in a Bible dictionary that “altars were places where the divine and human worlds interacted. Altars were places of exchange, communication, and influence. God responded actively to altar activity.”

In the New Testament, our final altar is the cross. I read this: “The New Testament writer of Hebrews (13:10) implies that the ultimate altar is the cross. Here divine and human interchange is consummated. The cross becomes the sanctuary of the believer, providing protection from the penalties of sin.”

I can’t stop thinking of that phrase that God responds actively to altar activity. He responds because of Jesus. And He also responds to us as we offer our bodies as “living sacrifices” as our act of worship (Romans 12:1). God responds to altar activity.

How does God respond to Noah’s altar activity? With fresh promises (8:21) and abundant blessing (9:1). With Jesus as my altar activity, I enter into the always fresh promises of God and His abundant blessing. My altar activity of consecrating my life to Christ pleases God, just like Noah’s sacrifice pleased Him.

I’ll go into the world, but first I’ll build an altar in my heart. In fact, I think of doing so every new morning.

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