Sometimes to turn a nation we have to rebuild an altar to God.
1 Kings 18 records a defining moment in the history of Israel. This moment was not just about a family, a community, a organisation being turned, but an entire nation!
What turned it? A person rebuilding of an altar to God. This was the great powwow between Elijah and the Prophets of Baal.
Both built altars. Only one saw the presence of God fall on it.
Altars are places that house anything you consult with before acting. Anything you check in with to get your identity, your values, your direction, your power from.
It has always been about altars, because our entire physiology was wired for worship. In that space, we draw meaning of life and for life. We are meaning making machines.
Turning a nation, turning the narrative of what gives us meaning, is found at the altar of what we worship.
In fact, future generations are depending upon us to come face to face right now with what we worship.
How can we create a space for worship to God? What does building an altar look like? Is it really that big a deal for my nation?
These are key questions that over the years I have wrestled with.
Many years ago, when I first started to create a space for God in my life, I would wrestle, toss, think about all kinds of things, get up, sit down, walk around. Wrestless.
Had no idea of what I was waiting for or doing. All I knew was that I had been pulled. Pulled to a space, a time and to Him.
I had no idea what that meant or would mean now nearly 20 years on.
So I learned to ask. I learned to ask what he wanted, what he saw, what he was thinking about, what was on his heart. I began the learning of connection, of worship, of building an altar to him in presence of other altars.
And I’m still learning today
During one of these such times, he took me to Isa 40:31. “Those that wait upon the Lord, will renew their strength. They will raise on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
My eyes fell to the word, wait. What an uncool word for one who loves immediacy, action, adventure and decision making!
I hate waiting. I hate waiting in Doctors waiting room. I hate waiting for the light to change on the road. Loathed it as a kid! Still mostly do.
But now, the word “wait” was beaming at me.
“Wait on the Lord.”
Hmm. Those words, but what on earth does that look like??
I flipped to the Hebrew Dictionary for this verse. “Wait” is the word qavah, And then my jaw dropped.
Means to “bind together by twisting.” Yep that’s exactly how it felt. Loads of twisting.. tossing.. moving around…
And this began my journey of building a space, a worship to God. It was a tossing, turning, twisting thing. It was tangible. It was physical. His presence when it encountered me, caused a physical response of qavah!
We experience that all the time as we get build connection with friends and community. We sit in conversation and experience a twisting, turning, dancing as it where of subjects, nuances, themes. As words are exchanged, hearts are moving, twisting together
And this is the rhythm of relationship, of connecting, of building a space where I worship.
And this is the turning. The turning of an individual heart, a family, a nation. It begins at the altar.