Friday, September 20, 2013


Luke 1:9-13

Morning Meditation 9/21/2013

"According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John."

The altar of incense was the place of prayer. Revelation 8:3, "And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne."

Now let's look at some of the things about this altar. We see first--


This altar was where incense was burned. No sacrifice was to be offered on this altar. Only incense could be put upon its ever burning coals. The sacrifice must be made outside.

The lesson is, if you want your prayers to be heard, you must come by the brazen altar and be cleansed at the laver.

Its purpose was to continually send the prayers of Israel up to the throne of God. The aroma of the incense was delightful to the smell. The prayers of God's people ascend to the throne room of the eternal God and He is very pleased to have His people worship him and to ask things of Him.

Worship, prayer, and praise is made to God at this altar. Next--


Like the brazen altar outside, this one was also made of two different materials. Not wood and brass, but wood and gold. Here again the divine and human character of Christ is brought before us. In the brazen altar the wood was strengthened by the brass. In the altar of incense the wood (human nature) is glorified by the gold. He took upon Him the likeness of sinful flesh. Now the likeness has been glorified in Him. What an encouragement to prayer and faith when we remember that the Lord of glory is still truly human.

God and man meets at the brazen altar and man is absorbed into God so that Peter could say that we are partakers of the divine nature. Perfect humanity (Jesus) and the Eternal God meet and God is pleased to say, "these are my beloved sons, hear them." We do have the only message that will save. Next--


It stood within the door, in the center of the holy place, and straight with the brazen altar, the laver, and the ark of the mercy seat.

Those vessels which stood in line with the great altar and the mercy-seat seem to indicate the provision made for our approaching unto God. The mercy-seat was the throne of God, the altar of incense stood before it. Revelation 8:3, "And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne."

The altar of incense stood between the sinner and God. This is how it happens today: Hebrews 7:25, "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." Next--


At each corner of the altar was a golden horn. The horn is the symbol of power. Here it speaks of the power of His intercession.

There is awesome power represented by these horns. He has power to put away sin, power to keep us from falling, and if we wish to grow in the knowledge of God let us not forget that He has also "power to open the book" (Rev. 5:5). Let's look now at--


The value of this altar lay in the incense. As we might expect, that which typifies the merit of God's sin-atoning Son will have something peculiar and mysterious about it. It was made by the mingling of three spices, each part was to be equal weight (Exo 30:34-38).

No man was to make anything like it for his own use. It must not be imitated. Who can make a substitute for the merit of Jesus Christ?

Our prayers go up to the throne room of heaven and the aroma fills the place. This is what God says of our prayer and praise. Let's spend more time at this altar.


1. Prayer is work. Col 4:12, "Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. The words "labouring fervently" translates "agonizomai," and is the word from which we get our word "to agonize." Has there been a time when prayer was work? You felt that you were not getting through and you were wasting time at prayer? We do not pray by feeling we pray by faith.

2. Prayer is effective. Matt. 21:22, "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." I have seen God do some marvelous things through the encouragement that I received from this verse.

3. Prayer at times must be prolonged. Here Jesus prayed all night to God. Luke 6:12, "And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God."

4. Prayer must come out of a heart of gratitude. Philippians 1:3-4, "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,"

5. Prayer uses the power of God to win souls. Romans 10:1, "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved."

6. The prayer of faith saves. Romans 10:13, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

7. We can minister to the Lord in prayer. Acts 13:2, "As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them." The words "ministered to the Lord" translates, "leitourgeo," and means, "to serve the state at one's own cost." Prayer will cost you time and sweat. But its results are worth the effort..

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro. White

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