The Horns of the Altar


“When the news came to Joab, for Joab had followed Adonijah though he had not followed Absalom, he fled to the tent (tabernacle) of the Lord and caught hold of the horns of the altar before it.  King Solomon was told that Joab had fled to the tent of the Lord and was at the altar.  Then Solomon sent Benaiah son of Jehoiada, saying, Go, strike him down.  So Benaiah came to the tent of the Lord and told Joab, The king commands, Come forth.  But Joab said, No, I will die here. Then Benaiah brought the king word again, Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me.  The king said to him, Do as he has said.  Strike him down and bury him, that you may take away from me and my father’s house the innocent blood which Joab shed.” (I Kings 2:28-31)

Joab was King David’s right hand man.  He did the dirty work of putting Uriah on the front lines of the battle to be killed so David could marry his wife.  He also murdered two men without King David’s knowledge.  Blood was on Joab’s hands.  He was guilty before the Lord of treachery and murder.

Before David died he anointed Solomon as king over Israel.  But after he died, one of his other sons, Adonijah, rose up and claimed the throne for himself and got support from several people including Joab.  Solomon ordered Adonijah killed for insurrection.  Solomon also ordered Joab struck down as well.  But Joab knew that he could find refuge in the house of the Lord at the horns of the altar.

In those days, anyone who grabbed hold of the horns of the altar in Jerusalem, could receive asylum or reprieve from judgment.  It was an act of repentance.  It was Joab’s last shot for the mercy of God.  I found it interesting that even though the king issued the order of judgment, it wasn’t carried out right away because Joab refused to let go of the altar.  He said he would die there.  Benaiah had to go back to the king with Joab’s argument and only then did the king say, OK do as he says, kill him and bury him.  Judgment was set for Joab.  He couldn’t get out of it.  He had gone too far.  He had to pay the price for his treachery and murders.  But there was a space of time where he did have hope of mercy.

I’ve been pondering for several days the direction of America since the Supreme Court struck down God’s definition of marriage.  Like everyone else I’ve been convinced that judgment is coming to America.  It is inevitable.  But the Lord brought the words “the horns of the altar” to my mind just a while ago, and I realize that perhaps there is a space of time where the people of God in America can grab the horns of the altar and cry out for mercy on this nation.  For a small season, I believe we can see a mighty harvest of souls in this nation before the inevitable time of wrath is poured out.

This is just a pondering on my part of course.  I think I am going to grab the horns of the altar and cry out for a season of revival in this land.  Who knows but that the Lord would turn and have mercy for this season?  I know He wants to show mercy.

“Father, move on the hearts of Your people to grab the horns of the altar for this nation that we may have a season to harvest the souls You want for this age.  In Jesus’ Name I pray.  Amen and Amen!”

Blessings everyone…


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