Altar To The Lord In Ophrah Of The Abiezrites Today

Altar To The Lord In Ophrah Of The Abiezrites Today

Introduction:

In the biblical narrative, the altar holds profound significance as a place of worship, sacrifice, and encounter with the divine. Among the numerous altars mentioned throughout the Bible, one particular altar that captured the attention of many was the Altar to the Lord in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. This unique place of worship, described in the Book of Judges, is a testament to the faith and devotion of a community committed to seeking God’s guidance and experiencing His presence. Today, as we explore the symbolism and lessons associated with this ancient altar, we are reminded of the timeless truths embedded within its story.

The Historical Context:
To understand the significance of the Altar to the Lord in Ophrah of the Abiezrites, we must first delve into its historical context. The Book of Judges recounts a tumultuous period in Israel’s history, characterized by cycles of disobedience, oppression, and deliverance. During this time, Israel struggled to remain faithful to God’s commands and often found themselves under the oppressive rule of neighboring nations. In the midst of this chaos, Gideon, a valiant and hesitant leader, emerged to deliver the Israelites from the Midianites.

Gideon’s Encounter with God:
In Judges 6, we encounter Gideon as he receives a divine visitation from an angel of the Lord while threshing wheat in a winepress to hide from the Midianites. The angel greets Gideon with the words, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior” (Judges 6:12, NIV). Initially, Gideon questions the angel’s message, expressing doubts about God’s presence and power in the face of their dire circumstances. However, God reassures Gideon of His faithfulness and appoints him to deliver Israel from the Midianite oppression.

The Construction of the Altar:
As Gideon embarks on his mission, he seeks confirmation from God through a series of signs and wonders. One of these signs involves Gideon offering a sacrifice on an altar built for the Lord. Following God’s instructions, Gideon tears down his father’s altar to the false god Baal and cuts down the Asherah pole, symbols of idolatry and false worship. He then constructs an altar to the Lord on the highest point of his father’s property, using unhewn stones, and offers a burnt sacrifice.

The Significance of Ophrah and the Abiezrites:
Ophrah, the location of the altar, was Gideon’s hometown and the territory of the Abiezrites, his clan. The choice to build the altar in Ophrah was intentional, as it emphasized the importance of worship and devotion in one’s own community. It reminds us that our faith and dedication to God should not be confined to grandiose temples but should be cultivated within our homes and local communities.

Lessons from the Altar:
The Altar to the Lord in Ophrah of the Abiezrites carries profound lessons that resonate with believers today:

a. The importance of worship and sacrifice: Gideon’s act of building the altar and offering a sacrifice exemplifies the significance of worship and surrender to God. It serves as a reminder that true worship involves giving our best to God and offering ourselves as living sacrifices.

b. The rejection of idolatry: The tearing down of the altar to Baal and the removal of the Asherah pole symbolize the need to reject all forms of idolatry and false worship in our lives. It challenges us to examine our hearts and rid ourselves of anything that hinders our devotion to the one true God.


c. The power of community and unity: The choice to build the altar in Ophrah highlights the significance of communal worship and unity. It reminds us that we are not alone in our faith journey and that gathering together as a community of believers strengthens our devotion and deepens our relationship with God.

d. The faithfulness of God: Throughout the story of Gideon, we witness God’s faithfulness in guiding and empowering him to fulfill his calling. The altar in Ophrah stands as a testimony to God’s unwavering presence and His willingness to intervene in the lives of His people when they turn to Him in faith.

e. The call to obedience: Gideon’s obedience in tearing down the altar to Baal and building an altar to the Lord demonstrates the importance of obeying God’s commands. It teaches us that true worship is inseparable from obedience to His Word and His will.

f. The restoration of true worship: The construction of the altar in Ophrah represents the restoration of true worship among the Israelites. It serves as a reminder that even in times of spiritual decline or confusion, God can revive and restore genuine worship in the hearts of His people.

Conclusion:

The Altar to the Lord in Ophrah of the Abiezrites remains a powerful symbol of faith, devotion, and the transformative power of worship. It teaches us valuable lessons about the significance of worship, the rejection of idolatry, the power of community, and the faithfulness of God. As we reflect on this ancient altar, let us examine our own lives and communities, seeking to build altars of devotion and surrender in our hearts, homes, and churches.

In our modern context, the Altar to the Lord in Ophrah challenges us to prioritize worship and sacrifice in our daily lives, to reject the idols that can subtly creep into our hearts, and to embrace the power of united worship within our communities. May we be inspired by the faith and obedience of Gideon and the Abiezrites to pursue a deeper relationship with God and experience His presence and guidance in our lives.

Let us remember that our worship should not be limited to a physical structure but should extend to every aspect of our lives, becoming a living testimony to God’s faithfulness and love. May the Altar to the Lord in Ophrah of the Abiezrites serve as a constant reminder of our call to be faithful and devoted followers of the one true God, seeking His presence and purpose in all that we do.




Shalom