2 Kings 16:12-14 When the king came from Damascus, the king saw the altar; then the king approached the altar and went up to it, and burned his burnt offering and his meal offering, and poured his drink offering and sprinkled the blood of his peace offerings on the altar. The bronze altar, which was before the LORD, he brought from the front of the house, from between his altar and the house of the LORD, and he put it on the north side of his altar.
Ahaz, King of Judah was under siege by the armies of Aram and Israel and he sought the help of Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria. The help requested prevented the success of these attacking armies and Ahaz travelled to Damascus, the newly captured city of his enemies, to meet the Assyrian King.
There he saw an Assyrian Alter and clearly impressed by its form and the fact that the Assyrian’s had been successful in battle, he sent instructions back to Jerusalem for a copy of this alter to be installed in the Temple in Jerusalem. Urijah the priest constructed the alter according to the pattern of the Assyrian alter and installed it in the temple.
When Ahaz returned he was delighted with the alter and had in placed in the Temple replacing he Lord’s alter built by Solomon.
2 Kings 16:14 The bronze altar, which was before the LORD, he brought from the front of the house, from between his altar and the house of the LORD, and he put it on the north side of his altar.
Ahaz did not dispose of the Lord’s alter but he moved it to an obscure part of the temple to the north of his new alter.
2 Kings 16:15 Then King Ahaz commanded Urijah the priest, saying, “Upon the great altar burn the morning burnt offering and the evening meal offering and the king’s burnt offering and his meal offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land and their meal offering and their drink offerings; and sprinkle on it all the blood of the burnt offering and all the blood of the sacrifice. But the bronze altar shall be for me to inquire by.”
Ahaz commended that the alter of the Lord be restricted to his use only and kept away from the people.
Today many alters have been brought into the Church and the Lord’s alter is removed from the people and although retained, often moved to a place of obscurity. The foreign alter of prosperity becomes a focus for many who offer the sacrifice of their faith to gain wealth and status. The alter of worldly leadership is raised to a place of prominence and the people are distanced from the gifting of ministries reserved for the professionals. The alters of the world are brought into the church with the claim that they enhance the gospel, appeal to the people and make the church acceptable to the world.
It’s time to restore the Lord’s alter of a vibrant, Spirit filled, ministering people who no longer spectate in the Temple but minister according to the leading of the Lord’s Spirit