Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Building Altars

The concept of building altars as an act of worship intrigues me.  The first Biblical mention (that I have found) of building an altar in order to make a sacrifice to the Lord in worship is recorded in Genesis 8:20 regarding the account of Noah.  After Noah came out of the ark, "Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it."

As my own act of worship and meditation, I have in mind to make a drawing for each occasion an altar is mentioned...those that were built to honor and worship God for all He had done.  Abram, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samuel, Saul, David and Elijah all built altars.  Some were built to remember certain occasions of God's provision: Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shem and named it Ebenezer saying "thus far has the Lord helped us."  (1 Samuel 7:12)  Moses set up twelve pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel (Exodus 24:4).  Gideon destroyed his father's altar to a false god (Baal) and built a proper altar to the Lord (Judges 6:25).  In Joshua it is recorded that the Israelites should take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan and Joshua recorded on them the law of Moses.  He instructed them that the stones were to help Israel remember that they had crossed the Jordan on dry ground.  On Mount Carmel Elijah repaired the altar of the Lord which was in ruins.  He took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, "your name shall be Israel."  With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord.  (1 Kings 18:32)  His prayer beginning in 1 Kings 18:36 is beautiful.  (The source of my paraphrasing of these verses is the New International Version 1982, B.B. Kirkbride Bible Company, Inc. Indianapolis, Frank Charles Thompson, ed.)

Altar 1, 2010, graphite, 2.25" x 3.25"


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