2 Samuel 23-24

Luke 19:1-27


“Unlike the other high priests, [Jesus] does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when He offered Himself.”       —Hebrews 7:27

Since Israel and Judah rejected the worship of God, God sent them into exile. What we see throughout the Old Testament is if we neglect worship to God, other things will take its place. If we ignore the warning signs of God calling us to Him, we can actually find ourselves in a place where silence becomes the sound from heaven. 

Yet, God, in His grace, welcomed His people back into the Promised Land after the exile. He knows the feeble heart of man that is inclined towards wickedness from birth, and He knows our fragility of faith that so easily falters. Nonetheless, God is always providing an invitation to His people to restore their worship at the altar. In the book of Ezra, we are told, “the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation…‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build a Temple for Him at Jerusalem in Judah’” (Ezra 1:1-2). When the people of God returned to the Holy Land, the first thing they did was rebuild the altar of worship; afterwards, they offered sacrifices to God in accordance with the Law of Moses (Ezra 3:1-6). Why? Because the altar was a place of encounter, a place of communion with God, but most importantly, everything we do flows from a life of worship.

For those of us who are lost or wandering in the valley of our own poor choices, it is not too late to rebuild the altar in our life. God’s invitation to worship Him is not just in the Old Testament; it continues into the New Testament. God provided a way of salvation for all of humanity, a promise of deliverance and protection from the justice of God towards sin—He sent His Son, Jesus, to seek and to save the lost. 

Jesus offered up His life as a sacrifice of atonement for sin that would satisfy a just and holy God. The cross was the ultimate altar in Scripture; the place where the divine activity of God met the tremendous need of man. It was the final place of sacrifice and atonement, where we are offered friendship with God by faith in what Christ has done on our behalf.  

Just as Noah, in Genesis, believed God and by faith entered into His provision of salvation in the form of an ark and was saved, we, too, can believe God and by faith enter into His provision of salvation in the person of Jesus Christ and His work on the cross and be saved. We can have freedom from sin and respond in worship at the foot of the cross.

Precious Jesus, thank You for the freedom from sin because of Your finished work on the cross. For the rest of my life, I want to worship You. Amen! 

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