#25. Not to Lay Down a Stone For Worship.
recorded Dec29 2016
"And if you make for Me an altar of stones, do not build it of hewn stones; for by wielding your tool upon them you have profaned them" (Exodus 20:22).
First, God wants credit for creating the altar, or at least the materials for the altar. He does not want a sculptor to get the credit for shaping the stone or stones. Why?
Call it jealousy, if you like. God's name is Jealousy. Whether or not you believe jealousy is appropriate for God, He is God and you are not. Your opinion of God's jealousy therefore does not matter. To judge whether God should be jealous signifies you believe yourself greater than God, which you are not.
If you proceed to build an altar of hewn stones, rejecting that God is jealous, or believing He will accept you and forego His jealousy, your altar is one of arrogance and not humility. There is no reason for God to accept such an altar.
Any prayer or sacrifice laid at or on such an altar of arrogance shall obviously be unacceptable to, and rejected by, God. There is no point in saying God is petty, as the commandment is clear and you disobeyed it.
Second, any hewn altar is not an altar to God, for He did not command it but rather He rejects it. A hewn altar can therefore only be an altar to idols, used only by pagans and disobedient Jews.
Any prayer or sacrifice laid at or on such an altar of idolatry shall obviously be unacceptable to, and rejected by, God. Good intentions are not enough, and do not sanctify the unlawful altar, or any sacrifice or prayer made thereunto.
It's not only about obedience, it's also about love. Love is sacrifice. If we love God, we give up not only on competing gods but also on competing altars. The use of an unhewn altar displays affiliation with, loyalty to, and love for the One True God.
Third, the use of an unhewn altar displays affiliation with the One True Law, which is Torah, and is furthermore a tool of evangelism for Torah.
Shall we believe God makes commands for no reason, to be waved off at our convenience or inconvenience? Of course not!
Fourth, an altar is a place of blood. The altar is not a place of beauty, and should not be fashioned so. There should be no idea that the altar must not be desecrated when the entire point of an altar is to provide a place for prayer and sacrifice to atone for the worst sins.
Listen in to today's recording for much more on this subject!
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