Repairing the Altar
The trip to Tel Aviv, with a connection in Rome, was very tiring. I was exhausted, and worse, our group had already started the tour. We had to take a cab and find them in the region of Mount Carmel. At least I was with my sister by my side and we could talk a little; but all of a sudden we were interrupted by screams of the taxi driver who was quarreling with someone on the cell phone. We became scared since we are not used to see people speaking like this. So, he passed the cell phone to me, and then I understood nothing. It was our guide telling us that the taxi driver would take us to where our group was, and that would take few minutes.
When I gave the phone back to the driver, the screams continued. He was angry, going round and round in the street, until he hung up the phone in the guide’s face. At that time my sister and I held our hands and were in spirit of prayer. They were speaking in Hebrew, so you can imagine how tense was to be in a strange country with a nervous taxi driver and speaking another language behind the wheel, going round and round in the street block!
After all that confusion we finally arrived. He argued with our guide, and we obviously, disappeared. The place was cold, very cold and even though wearing my coat it seemed like I was wearing nothing. Sincerely speaking, the tour did not start well.
That was when we went to Mount Carmel, and there our guide told us about what had happened in that place. The prophet Elijah had challenged the prophets of baal to see who was the true god. Out of their ignorance, the prophets accepted the challenge and acted like foolish, for baal did not give any sign of life. Then it was Elijah’s turn:
“Then Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come near to me. So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, Israel shall be your name. Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed. And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, ‘Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood’. Then he said, Do it a second time, and they did it a second time; and he said, Do it a third time, and they did a third time. So the water ran all around the altar, and he also filled the trench with water. And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, Lord God of Abraham Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to you again. Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. “ Now when the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, The Lord, He is God”. 1 Kings 18:30 – 39
This story has many lessons, but today I would like to share with you what the guide spoke to us, which probably has everything to do with what he had witnessed just few minutes earlier.
Elijah had to repair the altar of the Lord first. Before making the sacrifice and cry out to God, you need to repair the altar first, which means your heart today. Before you ask for anything from God, first you need to repair yourself before Him. At that time, the people had destroyed the altar of God because of the other idols and, obviously, the presence of God was no longer there. When the heart is dirty, he destroys this altar as well, it doesn’t matter which idol is “reigning”. May it be the idol of your career, the job, the boyfriend, the love life, the marriage, beauty, music, arts, in short, there are many idols out there but only one GOD. The idols will take you downhill, God will take you to an abundant life. Make your choice.
I believe the guide was talking about something he had to do after such rude attitude of the taxi driver. What about you, do you need to repair your altar too?
Author of the books "Better than a new pair of shoes", "V woman" and "Casamento Blindado" (Bulletproof Marriage). Founder of "Godllywood" and "Rahab Project". Presenter of "The Love School" at Rede Record.