Stones…and the Stories They Tell: Altars Alter Everything - Part II

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7 foundational facts regarding Altars Alter Everything

    1. An altar is an elevated place of sacrifice where Divine and human intersect.

    2. An altar is where our transcendent God becomes immanent. 

    3. Altars don’t just happen. You have to intentionally build an altar. 

    4. Altars can be built anywhere. 

    5. Alter means to change or adjust. 

    6. Altering is done by God, Altar building is done by us.

    7. Everything = nothing excluded. 

Trust Altars are critical because…

  • Time has a way of causing us to doubt what we heard God say. 

  • Time has a way of eroding passion for God’s promises. 

  • Time has a way lulling us into sleepy patterns of life that aren’t moving God’s purposes forward. 

Joshua 3:7-17, 4:1-9 (New American Standard)
Now the Lord said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you. You shall, moreover, command the priests who are carrying the ark of the covenant, saying, ‘When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.’” Then Joshua said to the sons of Israel, “Come here, and hear the words of the Lord your God.” 10 Joshua said, “By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will assuredly dispossess from before you the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Hivite, the Perizzite, the Girgashite, the Amorite, and the Jebusite. 11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing over ahead of you into the Jordan. 12 Now then, take for yourselves twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one man for each tribe. 13 It shall come about when the soles of the feet of the priests who carry the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan will be cut off, and the waters which are flowing down from above will stand in one heap.” 14 So when the people set out from their tents to cross the Jordan with the priests carrying the ark of the covenant before the people, 15 and when those who carried the ark came into the Jordan, and the feet of the priests carrying the ark were dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks all the days of harvest), 16 the waters which were flowing down from above stood and rose up in one heap, a great distance away at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those which were flowing down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. So, the people crossed opposite Jericho.17 And the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground, until all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan.

Joshua 4:1-9 (NAS)
Now when all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying, “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from each tribe, and command them, saying, ‘Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet are standing firm, and carry them over with you and lay them down in the lodging place where you will lodge tonight.’” So Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the sons of Israel, one man from each tribe; and Joshua said to them, “Cross again to the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel. Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So, these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.” 8 Thus the sons of Israel did as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, just as the Lord spoke to Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel; and they carried them over with them to the lodging place and put them down there. 9 Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan at the place where the feet of the priests who carried the ark of the covenant were standing, and they are there to this day.  

Just because God directs it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to stand in the water and wait a bit. Waiting doesn’t mean God isn’t working! 

3 Impacts of Building Middle Altars

  1. Middle Altars Acknowledge God’s Presence & Power

    Middle Altars mark the spot where the presence of God stands and holds back the water while you cross. God doesn’t just get us to the other side of an OBSTACLE, He’s also the crossing guard that stands in the middle of it until we get to the other side. We are predisposed to focus on end results but end results aren’t what we worship they are what we are thankful for – God’s presence and power in the middle is what we worship.

  2. Middle Altars Acknowledge God’s Presence & Power

  3. Middle Altars Redirect Flow

5 Different Miracles from a Redirected Jordan.

  1. 2 Kings 2 

  2. 2 Kings 2

  3. 2 Kings 5 

  4. 2 Kings 6 

  5. Matthew 3:13

3 Impacts of Building Middle Altars

  1. Middle Altars Acknowledge God’s Presence & Power

  2. Middle Altars Redirect Flow 

  3. Middle Altars Re-Frame Obstacles as Opportunities

  • The best way to build middle altars is through worship. Worship takes our eyes off of us and the obstacle and puts them on God.

  • Building a middle altar is a spiritual acknowledgement of the Presence and Power God holding back the water to create a dry path.

  • Building a middle altar turns a place of worry into a place of worship. Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Memorial Altars

Joshua 4:6,7
Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So, these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.”

Altars Scare Enemies

Joshua 5:1
Now when all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed over, their hearts melted in fear and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites.

Revelation 12:11
They triumphed over him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Jesus does the winning. We do the story telling without fear!

3 Altars: Trust Altar, Middle Altar, Memorial Altar 

7 +1 foundational facts regarding Altars Alters Everything

  1. An altar is an elevated place of sacrifice where Divine and human intersect.

  2. An altar is where our transcendent God becomes immanent. 

  3. Altars don’t just happen. You have to intentionally build an altar. 

  4. Altars can be built anywhere. 

  5. Alter means to change or adjust. 

  6. Altering is done by God, Altar building is done by us.

  7. Everything = nothing excluded. 

  8. Altars scare enemies!

Building Altars

  • We build Trust Altars on our Knees

  • We build Middle Altars with Praise. 

  • We build Memorial Altars through Testimony.