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Monday, January 15, 2007

Build Your Altars - The Altar of Submission

For the next several posts I'm going to attempt my first "series." God put this on my heart yesterday morning in Sunday School. My aunt Cherie teaches the class, and she said something that really hit home with me. She said, "You need to build your altars long before you are in the middle of a problem."
In other words, you need to have a place where you meet with God on a daily basis. You need to have a place where you can hear His voice. That way when the storms come, you already know that you have a place to run.
So over the next several days I'm going to go over several "altars" that you need to have established in your life.
Today's altar is the first altar you must build in your life. Without this altar you will have no foundation to build upon. Today's altar is the altar of submission.
This altar is found very early in God's Word. Adam and Eve learned a lot about submission. They learned that refusing to submit to God's command will only end in disaster. For them it ended in death. Spiritual death. Of course we know that God sacraficed animals in order to give Adam and Eve coats, and we know that pointed to the need for blood to cover sins, but we'll talk more about that when we talk tomorrow about the altar of forgiveness.
Today we're going to focus on the point of submission. Now you would think that the consequences of Adam and Eve's failure would have kept their children on the straight and narrow. But in Genesis 4, we see again disaster brought on by a failure to submit to God's commands.
In Genesis 4:3 Cain brought a sacrafice to God. He brought a sacrafice of the fruit of the ground. Now I don't think that Cain gave the rotten fruit and vegetables. I'm sure that he brought the best. However Cain's best was not what God had requested. God had requested a blood sacrafice. Cain had refused to submit to God's standard, and God rejected his sacrafice.
In Genesis 4:4 we see how Abel, Cain's brother, brought a blood sacrafice. God accepted Abel's sacrafice.
This angered Cain. You see, Cain wanted God to accept him, but he wanted to come in his own way. He wanted to bring his own good works to God and be accepted for them. But in spite of all his good work, Cain still needed a blood sacrafice to cover his sin. And his refusal to submit brought God's disapproval.
We never see God telling Cain that he couldn't offer another sacrafice. Cain could have humbled himself and brought another sacrafice. An acceptable sacrafice. But in his pride he refused to submit and instead decided to kill the innocent Abel.
God punished Cain by cursing him to roam the earth and by making the earth unfruitful to him. (Genesis 4:11-12) But the worst thing of all was that he was driven from the presence of God. (Genesis 4:16) Cain's failure to submit led him to an unbearable punishment. (Genesis 4:13)
A refusal to build an altar of submission can be costly to us as well. First of all we have to submit to coming to God in His way. The only way. And that way is through the sacrafice of His Son Jesus Christ. (John 14:6) If we refuse to submit to God's way of salvation, we will pay the cost of eternal death.
Secondly after we have submitted to God's way of salvation, we must submit to follow God's will for our lives. A Christian who refuses to follow God's commands will be miserable. Think of where it led Jonah. His refusal to submit to God's will about preaching to the Ninevites put him into the belly of the whale.
Yes, the altar of submission is very important. A must have in every Christian life. I pray that, if you have not submitted to God, you will do so today. It's a choice you will never regret!



At 1:35 PM, Blogger Susanne said...

Your very last sentence held the key for me Heather, and that was to make the choice. It will be a choice every time and I need to choose to submit to God's ways. It may not always be easy but it will reap blessing in the end.

At 4:31 PM, Blogger Amydeanne said...

very interesting subject!
Question: would Jonah have salvation since he was old testiment? Or you mean because he was unsubmissive to God he was miserable.. sorry, my brain is mumbled a bit!
and yes! lol Sunday must have been quite a day for us both to have a similar thought!
Hugs and prayers!

At 8:12 PM, Blogger Janet Rubin said...

Heather, I'm liking the sounds of this series. I really want this to be the year I learn to put God first. I'm still hanging in with my daily Bible reading resolution, and I'm excited because it's becoming a habit! I know it will be life changing. This post has me thinking. What we sacrifice on this altar of submission is our will. Take my will, conform it to Yours, to Yours, oh lord..


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