The Lord has been speaking to me for years now about the Runaway Bride and has driven me to write my current book on the topic. But this morning, I woke up with such a strong spirit of intercession rising in my belly. He said this is the year that the runaway bride will come back to the altar. This is the year when she will return home. She will come back to the altar of intercession, the altar of praise, and the altar of intimacy with My Spirit.
For some of you, that means coming back to the place of your first love. It means coming back to the altar where you first said I do. Where you looked into the eyes of your Bridegroom, your Beloved, and said, “I am Yours forever.” He says, “Remember the place where you longed after Me? The place where you fell in love with My presence? The place where you didn’t want to eat, you didn’t want to sleep, you just longed for the secret place. You built Me an altar where we would meet. When chaos would rise around you, you remained at perfect peace because you knew there was refuge in My arms.” He says, “I’m jealous for that place.”
This morning I feel the Lord drawing His people back to the altar, the place where they first met. I’m reminded of Genesis 13. It is in this passage where Abram and Lot split. In verse 3, it says that Abram went from place to place until he came to Bethel (house of God), to the place between Bethel and Ai (heap of ruins) where his tent had been earlier and where he had first built an altar. It was there that Abram called upon the Lord.
God is calling you to separate from your Lot in this season. The people or things that weren’t meant to travel with you into the next season. The people or things that would only draw you away from intimacy and away from your destiny. The people or things that only seek to destroy your seed and rob what it is the Lord has for you. Abram came back to the place between the house of God and a heap of ruins where he had first built an altar, and he called upon the Lord.
You may feel right now that you are between the house of God or the promise of God and the heap of ruins you left behind. But God is calling you to return to the place where you first built an altar. The place where you would call upon Him, and He would meet you there. The place where you first fell in love with who He is. You fell in love with His face and not His hands. You fell in love with His presence and not what He could or would do for you. It didn’t matter the heap of ruins that burned to ashes behind you because you weren’t looking back to former things. You knew that in His presence was fullness of joy! In His presence was life! In His presence was safety, refuge, hope, peace, liberation, abundance, beholding everything and lacking NOTHING.
God drew Abram back to the place between Bethel and Ai, where he had first built an altar. God is calling His Bride in this hour to return back to the place where you first built an altar and called upon His name. The place where He was your everything. The place where it didn’t matter where you were or where you were going. As long as you had Him, you had everything. Some of you have lost that passion. You have lost the zeal of your youth. You have forgotten and forsaken your first love, and He’s calling you back! Back to the place where you first said I do. Where you looked your Bridegroom in the face and said I don’t care what my friends say, I don’t care what my family thinks. I’m crazy about You, and I am running with You until the end of days. Where you said I’m forsaking everything and following You, Lord, because I realize You are the one my soul has longed for, and no one else can satisfy.
Some of you need to renew your vows this morning. You need to come back to the altar of His presence. You need to come back to the place where your sole satisfaction was found in Him. Some of you have lost your ability to enjoy God. You’ve felt a distance from Him and questioned where He is. But it’s because you built a new altar that looks good and looks pretty, but you removed the sacrifice. There’s no blood on it! It hasn’t cost you anything. You’ve traded His grace (enabling power) for just another taste of the world you were never created to look like. You traded holiness for the sake of “fitting in.” You’ve traded your prayer time for partaking in the pleasures of this world, and you have forsaken your first love!
Don’t you remember the place where you said God, everything I have is yours? It all belongs to you, take me and use me for your glory. You removed your offering and replaced it with a list of demands. Covenant has been forgotten and replaced with what’s convenient. But don’t forget the power of His blood! There was a blood-bought price for your life. Remember it was the blood transfusion from Jesus that gave you life. He exchanged His blood for yours. It was the blood that dripped out of Emmanuel’s veins for the remission of sins that made your heart beat for the very first time. He laid His life down for His Bride that she may find life in Him.
Some of you ran away before you ever made it to the altar. You wanted the benefits of marriage without ever making covenant and joining yourself together as one flesh. You feared that committing fully to something would hold you accountable to leaving the former behind and running fully into new life. Your spirit has been willing, but your flesh is weak. You haven’t learned to leave your sacrifice on the altar in fear that what you’re gaining isn’t truly worth more than what you’ve left behind. You’ve continued feeding the lust of the flesh as a backup plan so that if this doesn’t work out, you have something to return to. You can’t say I do because your fear is greater than your faith. Though you’ve seen Him move, and you’ve seen glimpses of His presence, your doubt stops you from fully delighting in Him. But you can only give what you have first received. To be full of God, we must first be emptied of ourselves. Some of you, God wants to rid of yourself today so he can fill you with His goodness and with His glory.
He’s saying come to the altar and trust Me with your life. It’s at this altar I will meet you. It’s at this altar that I establish My covenant with you. It’s at this altar that I, and all of heaven, will acknowledge you before men. It’s at this altar you will taste the kiss of My presence. It’s at this altar you will leave the former things. You will leave your mother, your father, your friends, and your past, and you will cling to My presence. It’s at this altar you will take on My name and My identity and become My Bride. It’s at this altar that we light the candle together, becoming one flesh, and you take on the name of your Bridegroom where former things are erased and taken away. It’s at this altar you learn to die, but it’s at this altar you gain true life!!
Today, I hear heaven calling the Runaway Bride to come back home. Come back to the place where you built your first altar, says the Lord, call upon Me, and I will answer. Come back to the place of My presence, back to the place where you called Me Lord, and you called Me your God. Come back to the altar where you put aside other things and made a place for Me. Come back to the altar of intercession, where your night was filled with the travailing of your spirit crying out to the one true God. Jehovah Jirah, the Lord who is your Provider. Come back to the altar where you can be alone with Me.
I feel such a heavy stirring in my spirit this morning. The call to intimacy is so strong. Because as much as He longs to be with you and is jealous for you, He also knows that in His presence is where you belong! He knows that in His presence is refuge and abundant life. He knows in His presence is the discovery of who you are really called to be and the anointing that burns inside of you to destroy the yoke and bring liberation to the captives. But here’s the thing, He’s going to let you run if you want to run. Because you will only be fed according to your amount of hunger, but those who hunger and thirst for righteousness shall be filled. “Who will come away with Me?” says the Lord. “Who will come back to the place of their first altar? Who will forsake every momentary thing and come back to the place of their first love?”
I’m telling you, Church. This is the year of the altar.
Whatever you’ve allowed to drive a wedge between you and God, repent and run back to the altar. Whatever idols you’ve placed before him, repent and run back to the altar. Whatever you’ve allowed in your life to substitute the place of intimacy, repent and run back to the altar. He says, “Come to the altar, for I will meet you there. I love you and I’m just calling you home.”
God is calling people who will be people of His presence. A generation of Davids, who will be men and women after His own heart. Your Bridegroom is awaiting your arrival to enter into the inner courts of His presence.
Come back to the altar, says the Lord. The place of your first love!
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Consuming Love Ministries