Exodus 20:23-24 Remember, you must not make any idols of silver or gold to rival Me. (24) "Build for Me an altar made of earth, and offer your sacrifices to Me—your burnt offerings and peace offerings, your sheep and goats, and your cattle. Build My altar wherever I cause My name to be remembered, and I will come to you and bless you.
Why were specific directions given for building altars? God's people had no Bible and few religious traditions to learn from. God had to start from scratch and teach them how to worship him. God gave specific instructions about building altars because he wanted to control the way sacrifices were offered. To prevent idolatry from creeping into worship, God did not allow the altar stones to be cut or shaped into any form. Nor did God let the people build an altar just anywhere. This was designed to prevent them from starting their own religions or making changes in the way God wanted things done. God is not against creativity, but he is against us creating our own religion.
As I read this text, v. 23 jumped off of the page at me, and challenged me. "You must not make any idols of silver or gold to RIVAL Me."
What do I have in my life that challenges God for my heart? What fights to sit on the throne of my life? What am I unwilling to die to? What do I continue to make excuses for? What keeps me from completely, wholeheartedly serving the Lord?
These are legitmate questions that must be answered for the man or woman of God. God is a jealous God and does not want us to allow rivals to His Lordship in our life.
Money, lust, power, greed, bitterness, unforgiveness, hatred, anger, relationships...are of these are things that can attempt to move Jesus off of the seat of autority in our life. Today, my hearts desire is to listen to the Holy Spirit of God as He points out God's rivals in my life!
"Lord, I am so thankful for Your Word and the challenges that Your Spirit brings into my life every day. As I read and meditate on these verses today, I am aware of RIVALS that I have allowed in my heart. Today I confess of them, and make efforts to remove these from my life completely. I want You to be on the throne of my life. I do not want anything that will block the flow of Your Spirit in my life. In Jesus' name, amen!"