ONCE IN AN ALMOST SIXTY YEAR MINISTRY
“Bind the sacrifice with cords, even to the horns of the altar.” I preached this text some forty years ago at a missions conference. It was the first and last time. I can’t explain why. I do remember the purpose in me bringing the message. It was to explain the perplexity of why so many Christians lay their lives on the altar but never follow through with it.
THE NEED TO BIND THE SACRIFICE
Nowhere in the Old Testament do we find anyone binding a sacrifice to an altar, although it was undoubtedly the custom. We are left to speculation, but one that proves out in life. Animals have an extra sense of awareness when danger is close by. Being brought to the altar, they could see the smoke, as well as feel the heat of the fire. With their nostrils, they’d smell the flesh of freshly burnt animals that had gone on before them. This left them with an eerie feeling standing where blood had been shed, with death all around. They would naturally attempt to run and escape. Therefore the words, “Bind the sacrifice.” Interestingly, the Old Testament sacrifice was killed before being put on the altar. In the New Testament, the believer is a living sacrifice. Abraham “bound Isaac.”
THE CORDS THAT HOLD
The reason so many saints go back and walk no more with Him is because they are not bound by anything! The Bible says, “A threefold cord is not easily broken.” The cords that will hold us to the altar are: the cord of love, “The love of Christ…”; the cord of determination, “He set his face like a flint”; the cord of faith, “By faith...he endured.” (a Samson couldn't break these.)
THE MEANING OF THE HORNS
We have seen the sacrifice was bound with cords, but what was it bound to? “The horns of the altar.” God’s description of the altar to Moses was, “And thou shalt make the horns of it upon the four corners thereof.” Horns are associated with power. In presenting an object lesson with horns, in the Old Testament, Zedekiah said, “...with these thou shalt push...until thou hast consumed them.” Being linked to these horns is to be connected to the power of God.
WHO BINDS THE SACRIFICE?
Our Great High Priest, as the Old testament priest.’ And as Abraham with his beloved son our loving Father God wraps the cords around us, securing them to the horns of the altar. And as we lie there with feet and hands tied to the four horns, the fire impatiently waiting to consume the sacrifice, our song, ascends to Him. And what does he hear from those sanctified, quivering lips? “O LOVE THAT WILL NOT LET ME GO!
(The above is dedicated to my wife Salle, Tina Green, and all those suffering saints who refuse to “break loose” from His altar)