Tools For The Altar

I was asked recently to complete a silly little question/answer sheet about myself. One of the questions was, “If you could be any garden tool you wanted, what would you want to be?” Without even thinking about it, my answer was “a shovel.” Why a shovel? A shovel does two things… (1) it digs and covers up, and (2) it places and removes. After not being able to let this thought go from my mind, I asked the Lord about this. Then I started searching the Word for “shovels.”

In Isaiah 30:24, the Lord says the oxen and donkeys that work the soil will eat fodder and mash that was spread out with shovel and fan. The meaning of the word “shovel” in this scripture was “a winnowing fork,” as in blowing the chaff away. It is taken from the root word ruach (pronounced “rooakh”) which properly means “to blow or to breathe.” How can a shovel blow away chaff?

Shovels used to be made of bronze. They were not only used to spread feed for the working animals, but were also used by priests in the tabernacle (Exodus 27:3) and in the Temple (Jeremiah 52:18). In the tabernacle, shovels were used for placing coals upon the altar. In the Temple, shovels were used to remove the ashes soaked with fat from the altar. These utensils were removed from the Temple when King Nebuchadnezzar’s captain of the guard came and burned the house of the Lord.

So what does all this have to do with me saying I wanted to be a shovel? Do I want to dig a hole and bury my mistakes and pains? Or do I want to be used as a vessel in the Temple of the Lord, placing coals on the altar, allowing the chaff to be removed?

“Yes, Lord, I want to place all the things (areas of my life that are not of You) on the altar to be burned by Your fire, and then, after they have turned to ashes, You, Lord, can take them and cast them into the river to be washed away. And yes, Lord, I want You to use what I give You for Your glory.”

-Linda Fridenmaker (Pastor Belobaba’s oldest daughter… a chip off the old block… eh!)

Pastor George Belobaba

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