If you’ve read through the first two chapters of 1 Kings, perhaps you were as confounded as I at the talk of grabbing the horns of the altar. This is an odd occurrence—one I had not seen before now. There are several references to it, so it was time to dig into the commentaries.
It appears from this and some other instances, that it was now become a custom among the Israelites, though by no divine law, to flee to the altar of the Lord, as to an asylum.
This is the picture in my head. When we were kids, behind Mom was the safest place to be when the rest of my siblings were after me. Yes, I’ve just likened my mother’s skirts to the horns on the altar of the Lord.
While this practice wasn’t law, it was highly symbolic and, in many cases, effective. Like a kid running to a parent, by clinging to the horns of the altar, salvation may be found.
As soon as Adonijah discovered David was after him, he rushed to the sacred tent. Likewise with Joab. Now, I understand than neither of these men were spared—their evil deeds had already sealed their fate, but what if we, like them, ran to the sacred place when we are being chased by our enemies? What would happen if we ran to God instead of whining or complaining to family, friends, or Facebook? If we would only cling to the altar, perhaps we, too, could find salvation.
Unlike Adonijah and Joab, when we grab the horns of the altar, we will find salvation. Over and over, God has proclaimed Himself to be faithful if only will we come near to Him. Run to Him. Rush to Him. Grab on to Him and don’t let go. As much of a shield of protection as your mother’s skirts could be, the presence of God is so much more.
The next time you hear the phrase, grab life by the horns, keep this in mind. Be reminded that to hold on to God is to hold on to your salvation.
Daily Bible reading: 1 Kings 1-2, Luke 22:54-71