The Tabernacle: The Brazen Altar

(Lesson 2 of 6)

After entering through the door (picture of salvation, see lesson 1) you will find your self in the outer courts of the tabernacle.  Being in the outer courts doesn’t really put you too close to God, but you are much closer than you would be outside of the tabernacle, and now that you are in the tabernacle, you have the opportunity to grow closer to Him.  If you desire to get closer to God (in the Holy of Holies), you will need to start at the first piece of furniture… the brazen altar!

“And thou shalt make an altar of shittim wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare: and the height thereof shall be three cubits.” – Exodus 27:1

Like the rest of the tabernacle, the brazen altar is full of symbolism that can be used to improve our walk with God.  God designed every aspect of the tabernacle with a specific purpose and the brazen altar is no different.  Here are a couple of its more notable features…

It was overlaid with brass –

In the Bible, brass represent judgment!  This is a reminder that there must be judgement for sin.  A price has to be paid!

It had four horns –

“And thou shalt make the horns of it upon the four corners thereof: his horns shall be of the same: and thou shalt overlay it with brass.” – Exodus 27:2

Horns are a picture of power in the Bible.  The altar had a horn placed on each of its four corners.  When the tabernacle was set up, the 12 tribes of Israel would be set up around it (3 tribes on each side with the tabernacle in the center).  This shows that the power of God is available to all of His people and that God is at the center of their daily lives!

Also, during a sacrifice, the blood of the animal would be sprinkled on the horns… “There’s power in the blood”

How can this be applied to our lives today?

The altar has many interesting points in its design, but don’t let that distract you from its initial purpose.  The altar’s primary function is to give God’s people a place of sacrifice!  The fact is, before you are saved, you don’t have much of a desire to grow close to God.  You are going through life without a clear direction and doing your best to satisfy your flesh along the way.

But… that should change once you get saved!  Your mindset should change.  Your goals should change.  Your desires should change!  The Bible says…

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” – II Corinthians 5:17

Before you get saved, your life is full of things that satisfy your current goals and desires, but don’t really get you any closer to God.  So, in order to start getting closer to God, you would need to sacrifice some of these things to make room for new things!  Here are a few examples of things that we typically need to sacrifice to make this possible…

  1. Time

If you want to start doing something different that will benefit your relationship with God, you first need to make time for it.  Would you like to read your Bible on a daily basis?  That’s great, but you will need to sacrifice some part of your schedule in order to do so!   Even if it is just 5 minutes, that’s 5 minutes that will need to be taken from somewhere.  Once you are saved, you should make it a point to start attending a good church regularly, but that will also require some time to sacrificed somewhere!  The point is, before you are saved, your life is full of things that don’t help build a relationship with God, so in order to do work on that relationship, you will need to sacrifice time from different areas of your life to allow this to happen.

  1. Plans

Before salvation, your long-term plans will typically have nothing to do with God.  These plans are typically solely based on making money or doing a job that you enjoy.  But once you are saved, these plans should change…

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling…” – II Timothy 1:9

God created you for a special purpose!  You have a holy calling on your life to do something special for God!

  1. Hobbies

The Christian life is all about growth!  No one is perfect, nor can anyone be perfect, but as Christians we should strive to live as sinless as possible!  Before salvation, you would listen to any music that sounded good to you, but after salvation you should want to listen to music that brings glory to God.  Before salvation, you would wear whatever clothes you wanted, but after salvation, you should strive to dress in a way that honors God.  You are a new creature; your hobbies should reflect that!

Application – Now that you are in the outer court of the tabernacle (saved and having fellowship with God’s people) you can start your journey in growing closer to God!  The first step in this process is sacrificing the things of your unsaved life to make room for the things of God!  A lost person doesn’t have time set aside for reading the Bible, going to church, or telling others about Jesus, so in order to do those things, you need to sacrifice time from somewhere else!  The journey to being closer to God isn’t always an easy journey, but its always worth it in the end!  When you fail (and you will), don’t get discouraged and quit… simply keep pushing toward the goal!

To be continued…

The next lesson will be about the Brazen Laver and how we can benefit from it today!

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