“In him (Jesus) and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”—Ephesians 3:12
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”—Hebrews 4:16
A few weeks ago, some friends and I went to a concert that the Newsboys was playing at. During one of their songs, the lead singer walked into the audience and started giving people high-fives and shaking hands. Everyone was freaking out and people kept reaching out their hands, hoping he would touch them.
I’m currently attempting to read through the Bible chronologically. I say “attemping” because for a while I was stuck in Exodus, reading pages and pages of God’s specific instructions for how his people were to build his temple. I knew God gave very precise instructions for the building of the place where he would dwell, but I had no idea just how clear-cut his directions were. Here are a few verses from Exodus 25 to show what I mean.
“Have them make an ark of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. Overlay it with pure gold, both inside and out, and make a gold molding around it….Make a lampstand of pure gold. Hammer out its base and shaft, and make its flower-like cups, buds and blossoms of one piece with them. Six branches are to extend from the sides of the lampstand…”
Crazy, right? In addition to all of that, God instructed his people to craft a gorgeous curtain “of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim woven into it by a skilled worker.” (Ex. 26:31) This masterpiece of a curtain was to separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place in God’s Tabernacle. Only the priests of Israel could enter the Holy Place, and only the High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place, and even he could enter it only once a year. God’s people had to go through priests and curtains before they could even be allowed in the presence of the Most High God.
When Jesus died, he not only gave us the gift of salvation and forgivness, but he also gave us the gift of his presence. At the death of God the Son, Matthew 27 says that, “The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open.” But before that it says, “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” As Jesus breathed his last, his victory over the cross obliterated the need for our separation from God and his presence. Now the most common of all the people can enter into the Most Holy of Holies and speak with the God of the Universe, their Creator. Imagine it. Finally, there is no more curtain. Jesus becomes our high priest (Hebrews 4:14) and we can enter into God’s presence any time, day or night. He is there for us.
God commands us to “pray continually” (1 Thess. 5:17). I don’t think he intended for us to be walking around 24/7 with our eyes closed and heads bowed. I think he meant to dwell in his presence. Everyone at that concert was so excited about the possibility of spending a moment with the Newsboys. But how many people at that concert were equally excited about the prospect of spending time with the Lord? It’s ridiculous to think someone would be more excited about meeting a pop star than conversing with the King of kings…but how often does that ring true in my life? We tend to downplay the presence of the Lord and take it forgranted. God’s presence is a free gift to us, but it cost Jesus everything.
So my challenge for us this weekend? First off, remember what a gift God’s constant presence is and worship him for it (Psalm 139). After that, let’s make an effort to rid our brains, hearts, and schedules of the things that keep us from existing in His presence. This weekend, week, month…always, let us ask God to keep that door of communication open and see what he does. Jesus is standing at the door of our souls, knocking. (Revelation 3:20–“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”) Will we let him in today?