I have heard many believers say the Book of Leviticus is the most boring one in the entire Bible; Really!? A close reading of God’s Word to us, within these ‘Life Instructions’, reveals some amazing teachings. In this Devotion, I want to focus on only one of these – the construction of the Altar and what this says to us, today.
First, it is important to note the Altar of the Temple was actually a hollow structure, filled with earth, common dirt. Here we find our first teaching. There is nothing more ordinary or common than dirt and, yet, it was from dirt we were all made, through our father Adam. There is no greater symbol of humility than common dirt.
The structure or skeleton of the Altar was of wood, acacia wood, actually. This is unlike any other type of wood – highly durable and water resistant; indeed, it is known to last up to 40 years without being treated. The wooden frame has a lesson for us also – strength. Imagine if our spiritual structures were as solid and as durable as the acacia tree. This is strength beyond my understanding. No wonder it was selected by Yahweh to create the structure for His Altar.
Then we find the covering of the wooden structure was copper. It is important to remember, this was a time when stainless steel didn’t exist, indeed, we know geologically, the Altar was constructed during the ‘old’ stone age, when the only tools were constructed of flint and stone. Mining and forming copper was difficult and time consuming; however, copper is also flexible and durable and will take the form of any structure, when hammered into shape.
Follow me, please, as I examine a spiritual connection with the Hebrew language. The Hebrew word for copper is nechoshet, which is closely related to nechus, meaning stubbornness. In reality, these are opposites; one cannot be malleable and flexible and, at the same time, be stubborn. So, how do we get from here to meekness?
The accepted spiritual definition for meek is ‘strength under control’ and paints a picture of being strong and durable, while at the same time, gentle and flexible. Does the connection become clearer?
Someone who is meek displays the characteristics of humility, much like the earth which fills the structure of the Altar; strength and durability, represented by the acacia wood frame, and pliable and flexible, much like the copper covering, without allowing oneself to be bent-out-of-shape by the unreasonable demands and expectations of others. This is so unlike our Western Culture, secular understanding of meek, which sees this quality as weak and frail, able to be walked over by others.
This, then is one of the lessons of the Altar for us in the 21st Century: be with Yahweh as Adonai Yeshua, the Lord Jesus, was with His Father, as He walked the earth – humble, strong, durable, flexible: meek.
Abba B’Shamayim, Father in Heaven, thank you for your grace and mercy, which you give to us freely and abundantly, for making me a new creature and giving purpose to my life. I pray for constant transformation of my heart and for holy boldness and courage as I learn day by day to surrender. May You see a servant heart’s more and more teachable and flexible, yet strong that desires to honour and glorify Your name, B’Shem Adonai Yeshua Mashichainu, in the Name of our Messiah, Amein.
May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you richly.