Two months after Israel left Egypt, Moses climbed to the top of Mount Sinai where God spoke with him. It was at that time God gave him the Ten Commandments. In verse 24, Moses was told to build an altar for God for His people to offer their sacrifices on. But, did God really want an altar made out of dirt?
Build for me an altar made of earth, and offer your sacrifices to me—your burnt offerings and peace offerings, your sheep and goats, and your cattle. Build my altar wherever I cause my name to be remembered, and I will come to you and bless you. Exodus 20:24
Build an altar out of Earth? But wait a minute, what about gold or silver? What about using the talents of the people to fashion it to look really neat? No! God said out of earth. You mean rocks and dirt, that’s it?
Ok God, what’s the deal? Do you know how shabby that would look? Do you know how embarrassing it would be when seen by those serving other gods? Their altars are beautiful and expensive. God however said in verse 25, if you use stones to build my altar, use only natural, uncut stones.
Nothing Made by Human Hands
God wasn’t looking for a shrine. He didn’t want the Israelites to carry something around that would become more important to them than the Lord. Humans are more apt to worship these types of objects instead of God.
History reveals that Moses wrote the first 5 books of the Bible. So he was well acquainted with the fact that God created . . . the earth. The Lord had already fashioned the rocks and the stones. They were all a part of his handiwork. He even said as much in this portion of scripture. Do not shape the stones with a tool, for that would make the altar unfit for holy use.
The instruction was to build the altar out of earth. Therefore, no person would be able to have bragging rights. No one chiseled stone, carved wood, or formed gold or silver, because there were none. No one could have received credit for a lovely adorned altar and its handiwork. Only God could look at this altar and say, look what I made.
In 1 Corinthians 3:16, it tells us this. Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?
We Are An Altar Made From Dirt
You – are a living altar of the Lord. You – are a product of his handiwork. Look at what Genesis 2:7 says.
Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.
Did God really want an altar made from dirt? After seeing what the verse in Genesis says, I would say, yes! He absolutely wants an altar made from dirt.
Sometimes we try to chisel and form ourselves into something we aren’t. We must be careful that we don’t adorn ourselves with the pleasures of this world. We can easily prioritize those things as being more important than our relationship with God. He made you just the way you are. If any changes need to be made in you, give God the pleasure to make them.
Check out this related post by reading The Charge.
Lord, thank you for creating and giving us life. You took a handful of dirt and made us in your image. We are an altar to be a living sacrifice for you.
Also read an excellent post on Worship called, How To Worship God With All Of Your Life.
You can read the entire 20th chapter of Exodus here.
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