“Ahaz gathered the articles of the house of God, cut in pieces the articles of the house of God, shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and made for himself altars in every corner of Jerusalem. And in every single city of Judah he made high places to burn incense to other gods, and provoked to anger the LORD God of his fathers.” (2 Chronicles 28:24–25 NKJV)
Instant access isn’t instant success, even though this is what the marketeers and advertisers would lead us to believe. The pushing of laptops, tablets, smartphones, and Hot Spots has not brought greater connection. Sure they might be like the altars in every corner of Jerusalem which Ahaz built, but they are not altars of the Lord. More often then not, they are simply the altars of business, distraction, and mindless activity. Flashy tools which have become traps for the tempted and tried because we have bought into the lie that we must always be connected. We have bought into the lie that instant access will bring greater joy, greater peace, and greater effectiveness.
Jesus knew a different sort of instant connection. It didn’t require a router. He didn’t have to charge anything or search for a Wi-Fi signal… In fact, when his phone was flooded with tweets and texts, email and voicemail… he simply turned it off.
“Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.” (Matthew 14:22–23 NKJV)
Turning off the phone, powering down the computer, going offline… This is the way we send the crowds away. Departing to a deserted place without access, without connection this is how we discover the primal access of God. Altars on every corner are not the answer… Rather, the altar where we can truly connect is away from all the bustle… hidden from the business… disconnected from the demands of man… withdrawn from the woes of this world…
As we let the Lord Jesus connect with our heart through His Holy Spirit in a place of silence… in a place of stillness… in a place without the distractions of this world, then we can hear His invitation:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1–2 NKJV)
It was conformity which led Ahaz to put an altar on every corner. Conformity which causes us to believe that constant connection is the answer for the daily demands of life. But we have exalted the wrong connection. In this digital age we have chosen digital altars and digital gods over The Ancient of Days. Is it any wonder that we find ourselves frazzled, fearful, and frayed? Time to get away from it all. Time to find a quiet place. Time to escape the altars and shrines which we carry in our pockets.
Prayer: Jesus, forgive me for having an altar on every corner. Forgive me for letting Facebook interfere with Your call to ceaseless prayer. Return the laptop, cell phone, tablet, and eReader to a place of tool rather than totem in my life. O Lord I give you my altars of the electronic age. I give you my distress. I give you my worries. Jesus I want to power down in the things of this world and power up in the things of heaven. Fill me with Your Spirit. Envelope me with Your grace. Bless me with Your presence. Call me to the quiet. Keep me connected to You Jesus. I surrender all this. I surrender myself.