1 Kings 18:30-33, “And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name: And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD…”
Prior to Elijah calling down fire from heaven on Mt. Carmel, the idolatrous priests had tried and failed to get Baal to do anything for them at all, and now it was Elijah’s turn. It was time for God to show Himself strong through Elijah in a Bible story that most of us know very well. But before Elijah could see God do the miraculous and incredible feat He was about to do, before he could even place the sacrifice on the altar, he had to prepare an altar. There were obviously places of idol sacrifice already in existence, for the prophets of Baal didn’t need to make or prepare one. However, God is not pleased in just any kind of sacrifice, or just any kind of worship. He has certain requirements that must be met. Before Elijah did anything, he repaired a long-forgotten altar of the LORD in the exact way that God had commanded centuries before.
What a sad testimony that Israel had forgotten God for so long that His altars were forgotten and broken down. Jehovah God – Who had delivered them from Egypt, provided for them in the wilderness, gave them miraculous victories after crossing the Jordan, delivered them over and over and over again during the time of the judges, and so much more – had been forgotten and neglected by the nation as a whole.
In the course of life, we as believers can quickly forget about God as well. We get too busy to pray, too busy to get alone with God and His Word, too busy to go to church, or too busy to share the glorious gospel with a dying sinner. We allow so many other things to become as important, and eventually more important, than God. God will not share the limelight with anything or anyone. Isaiah 45:5, “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me.” There is nothing and no one that can even come close to being compared to Him, for He is infinitely higher than everything. He is the uncreated Creator, the unchanging Master, the self-existent, self-sufficient, and all-powerful God of Heaven and earth.
If our priorities place God anywhere but Exalted, Almighty, High and Lofty #1, we have made Him into something He is not. When we view Him as something He is not, we are forming an idol in our hearts. An idol is man-made. An idol is man-dependant. The problem with so many Christians today is that they have a small god that they call the True God. They turn to human strength for every problem, talk only of empty, temporal things, and think on and spend vast amounts of time one every trivial thing under the sun, but they come to church Sunday morning and do their ”Christian duty.” God is tired of Sunday morning Christians. He wants devoted, loving laborers for His harvest. He wants you all day every day of the week, not just a few hours a week in church.
We must consistently humble ourselves before the great and mighty Ruler of the Universe, yielding ourselves to Him. We must seek His face and His power every single day. In order to do this we may have to rebuild some aspects of our personal worship that have been neglected and broken down. We will have to carve out time out of our schedules to find a quiet place to saturate ourselves in the Word. We will have to make a specific time for prayer. We will have to get back into church every time we possibly can (by the way, the first-century church met every day. I think we can stand to meet 3 times between 2 days in the 21st century). We will have to rely on God’s power to talk to friends and loved ones about Christ. It will require a personal sacrifice to renew God’s blessing and power in our lives; but in light of God’s sacrifice for us, the life of His own precious Son, nothing we could do for Him can be considered too great a sacrifice.