In the days of King Solomon, it was a custom that people guilty of manslaughter could take refuge in the “Lord’s tent” at the “horns of the altar.” Joab, one of David’s mighty commanders, had committed two murders and was being disloyal to Solomon. He fled to the tent of the Lord and took hold of the horns of the altar. Benaiah went to bring Joab out to kill him, Joab said he would not go out, he would die right there. And he did. Joab’s murders were intentional; he was seeking the altar for physical safety not spiritual forgiveness. He was guilty and he paid for his crimes with his life.
I am recounting this story because it sets a stage for how people often want to seek solitude in the Lord’s temple, be it a tent or a cathedral. Joab’s story indicates it is not a magical remedy for the criminal. But it is a place of mercy and grace to the penitent heart, or to one who has sinned unintentionally. And for those like Joab, there is forgiveness if it is sought.
In my background, it was not uncommon to hear about “taking hold of the horns of the altar” which meant to be in passionate, earnest prayer about something. It referred to the altar that was in the tabernacle built by Moses. The altar had horn-like projections on the top at all four corners.
Prompt from picture Daily Post Blogging U, #everydayinspiration