Altar Ego

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King Ahaz went to meet Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria in Damascus.

The altar in Damascus made a great impression on him.

He sent back to Uriah the priest a drawing and set of blueprints of the altar.

Uriah built the altar to the specifications King Ahaz had sent from Damascus.

By the time the king returned from Damascus, Uriah had completed the altar.

The minute the king saw the altar he approached it with reverence

and arranged a service of worship with a full course of offerings.

The old bronze Altar that signaled the presence of God he displaced from its central place

and pushed it off to the side of his new altar.

King Ahaz ordered Uriah: “The old bronze Altar will be for my personal use.”

2 Kings 16:10-12, 14, 15 THE MESSAGE

 

Being king, Ahaz could, of course, do as he pleased. But he had no right to redesign My altar. And he had no business making offerings—I gave that serious responsibility to the priests ordained for the task.

 

Seeing a Syrian altar he liked more than the one in the Jerusalem Temple, he sketched it and ordered Uriah to construct it. That new altar became the symbol of his egocentricity.

 

I had inspired detailed plans for the sacrificial worship altar. This arrogant ruler actually presumed to have a better idea than Mine! His self-centered, do-it-my-way attitude expressed itself in a major overhaul of the Temple. Defying My divine blueprint, he ordered changes—offering sacrifices on his larger, newer altar; putting the old bronze altar to his personal use in divination, seeking guidance from lesser gods; changing movable stands; removing the sea from bronze bulls, unceremoniously placing it on a stone pavement; in deference to the king of Assyria, removing the Sabbath canopy.

 

Who did Ahaz think he was, changing heaven’s plans? I saw it all from My throne, and I did not like what I saw.

 

All you do is in My eyes. My night vision is as sharp as My daylight perception. Live like a subject of the King of kings—conform to My blueprint for your life.

 

Your human nature presumes to set up your own ways of living in opposition to Mine. Carnal detours distract from the high road. Self-worship dethrones Me from your heart. Building newer, more elaborate altars, your alter ego proudly asserts itself, doing it your way.

 

On the altar of your life, surrender to My perfect plan since I know best. Let My holy nature become your second nature. Let Me alter your ego—changing you from the inside out, shaping you into Jesus’ perfect image. Then you can do as you please, so long as you seek to please your King.

 

© 2013 Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Churh

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

 

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Johnny R. Almond earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey and a Diploma in Religious Studies from the University of Cambridge. After pastoring churches for a decade, he served the Air Force as a military chaplain in worldwide assignments. After retiring from the military in 2000, he began serving as pastor in Virginia. He currently serves as pastor of Hull's Memorial Baptist Church in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He and his wife, Beverly, have four sons, three grandsons, and two granddaughters.

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