1 Kings 18:30-35

Wouldn’t it be great to hear, Come closer to me, whenever we stray from God (v. 30)? Elijah calls the Israelites, who have been far away from God, to come closer. The prophet is asking them to physically draw near as he speaks, but his words have deeper meaning also. He’s inviting those who’ve wandered from the Lord to return and see firsthand what God is about to do. 

Come closer, he says, and as they do, Elijah repairs the broken altar that symbolizes Israel’s broken relationship with God. This was where their ancestors worshiped the one true God. Over the years God’s people forgot their identity.

Elijah repairs the altar with twelve stones representing Jacob’s sons, the tribes of Israel that had become a divided kingdom. Now the altar is being mended, rebuilt so that it’s usable for worship again. 

In case the Israelites are slow to understand the imagery of twelve stones, Elijah digs a trench and places wood around the altar, puts the bull upon it, and pours twelve jars of water over everything. The water covering the meat and wood is so excessive it fills the trench. 

Sometimes we forget who we are and whose we are. Come closer to me is a message we need to remember. May it become a regular rhythm in our lives.


When have you wandered away from God? How did God call you back? Identify a broken altar in your life, a place of spiritual neglect that needs restoration. What steps can you take to begin the rebuilding process? 


God, grant me wisdom to see where I’ve neglected the sacred places of my life. Please forgive me as we rebuild what I’ve torn down. Thank you for hearing when I call on you. Amen.

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