Exodus 20:24 is still a valid command for our lifestyle today. It is up to each individual to integrate its principles into his daily routines. Those who have obeyed God’s Word in Acts 2:38 are a part of the royal priesthood. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost. God has already provided us the means to make an altar for worship to Him. When we offer to Him our sacrifice, God will send the fire.
By Timothy K. Cain
The command from God to the Israelites in Exodus 20:24 is still applicable to us today. Even before this command was given, when Noah and Abraham applied the principles found in Exodus 20:24, they too received the blessings of God. As is evidenced in biblical text alone, those who chose to follow the command of Exodus 20:24 have been the beneficiaries of countless blessings through the centuries. Those who have chosen to worship idol gods were not blessed and almost always were destroyed. This destruction, in some cases, had lasting effects for many generations. It is simply a matter of obedience or disobedience to God’s word.
For the children of Israel, the answer was, “All that the LORD path spoken we will do” (Exodus 19:8). Approximately three months after God miraculously freed them from the bondage of Egypt, they were ready to accept what God had for them through His servant Moses. Aside from the awesome displays of God’s power and presence, there was the daily obligation of sacrificial worship. Today we deal with the same realities. Initially, we experience the awesome power of God’s presence in our lives once we have repented, been baptized, and receive the Holy Ghost. Then there is the daily altar worship that must be learned in order to maintain the fire within. This disputes the common misconception that the altar is for the conversion of sinners only. Nothing could be further from the truth. Typically, the altars of today are for the conversion of sinners. However, God gave the command of Exodus 20:24 to His chosen people for the purpose of daily communion through worship, not just for conversion. Therefore, we must learn the discipline of daily communion and worship in order to establish a deeper relationship with God.
We must never forget that we were created by God, in His image, and for His divine purpose (Genesis 1:27-30). Throughout the Bible, God’s relationship and interaction with mankind are characterized in many different metaphors. One of the most common metaphors is that of Father and child, God being the creator and giver of life, and mankind in the likeness of a child. Imagine with me for a moment, having a child or a spouse and only communicating with him or her once in a great while. In this context it would be virtually impossible to establish a close, intimate relationship with the parent, child, or spouse. This would especially be true in a parent/child situation. If a parent could nurture and provide for the child but only from a distance and with little or no verbal communication, the intimacy would be severely impeded. How well would the child learn and grow and know the most intimate desires of the parent? How long would a marriage last if there were little or minimal communication? The answers to these questions seem almost elementary to our way of thinking today. Yet this is exactly how we need to view the command from God in Exodus 20:24. God had painfully birthed Israel in the process of freeing them from the bondage of Egypt. The ANE Israelites were God’s “first-born,” if you will. Israel was a new nation estimated at over one million people (including the wives and children). God had chosen them as the people through which He would accomplish His divine will.