When Jesus walked the earth teaching and sharing truth, He taught to seek His kingdom first (Matthew 6:33). How often do you feel you seek His kingdom first? I have to admit that I don’t do it as often as I would like.
The first altar we see erected in the Old Testament was a foundational example of seeking God first. As we discussed last week, altars were used for several purposes:
- To make sacrifices
- To commemorate a divine occurrence
- To worship and remember God’s promises
Noah was the first individual in the bible to build an altar for God and make a sacrifice on it. Let’s set the scene.
According to Genesis 6:5, God’s heart was grieved that He had made man because “every inclination of the thoughts of his [man’s] heart was only evil all the time,” so God chose to flood the earth wiping out all of mankind except for one man, Noah, and his family who loved the Lord and still pursued Him. God had Noah build an ark and, after months in the ark waiting for the rain to stop and the floodwaters to recede, he eventually stepped out on dry land.
Check out Genesis 8:18-20. Did you notice the first thing Noah does when he exits his confined living quarters? He runs off the boat screaming, “Freedom!!!” Then falls on the ground smothering it with kisses.
Oh wait, no, that’s not what happened.
Seeing a vast and empty land that shouted for a new beginning, his first act was to build an altar to God. In his great depth of love for the Lord, he made a sacrifice on this altar. The sacrifice was a burnt offering as atonement for sins securing a peaceful relationship between the Lord and humanity. This sacrifice was also an act for Noah to express his overwhelming gratitude for God’s mercy in delivering him from the flood.
Here’s what I love so much about Noah’s response immediately following the flood – it wasn’t about Him. There could have been many other things Noah did first after exiting the ark like creating a shelter for himself and his family, securing food or figuring out where they had landed. There were a number of things that could have been on his to do list, but honoring God was his first priority.
Noah longed to please God and show his love for God by making his first act off that ark be one about God and to establish God’s Lordship as the first thing in his life following the flood.
Noah’s action and example begs this question for us: Is God your first priority? When you begin your day, embark on a new journey or undertake a new responsibility, is it committed to the Lord? Friend, let me encourage you to build your altar to the Lord and place yourself on it. Sacrifice your own wants and desires for a kingdom perspective because in the end, that is the only thing that will have an eternal impact.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do…” –Proverbs 16:3a