March 23, 2009

 

Drawing Near

Amy Carroll

 

“…and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

Hebrews 10:21-22 (NIV)

         

Devotion:

As he passed the entrance to each home, the inhabitants rose and moved to their doorway. They watched as Moses passed by them and walked beyond the boundary of the camp to enter the Tent of Meeting. The man who had endured such disrespect suddenly felt reverence from his people, for both God and himself.

 

As I read Exodus 33 which contains this story, I felt a deep sense of relief. The Israelites were finally back on the right track after a colossal derailing. I had read chapter 32 and grieved at their failure. Even after seeing miracle after miracle—the parting of the Red Sea, water from a rock, manna and quail—it had only taken the Israelites 40 days of Moses’ absence to fall back into idol worship and immorality. God was so offended by the sin of the people that He announced His intention to send an angel to direct them as He withdrew His own presence.

 

So I was comforted to read about their return to worship. I rejoiced that God gives second chances and that the Israelites were rising to the occasion. They finally understood their need for God and for Moses’ leadership. Moses set up a tent outside the camp where anyone could go who was inquiring of the Lord. They had a place to go to speak to the Lord, but the people responded by watching as Moses went to meet with God while they worshiped in the entrance of their tents.

 

In a discussion about this passage, my friend Tricia brought up some great questions. Why did the people stop at the entrance to their tents? Why did they worship from so far away? All the people had been given access to the Tent of Meeting and were invited to meet God there. Why was their journey toward God only partially complete?

 

Her questions resounded in my mind all week long. I started to realize that I identified with the Israelites that stood to worship in the doorway of their tents. There are times when I too worship God from a distance. Sometimes it’s from a sense of unworthiness. Sometimes there’s sin that separates me from Him. Sometimes its residual shame or fear from past sins that keep me from drawing near to where God waits for me. Sometimes I’m disappointed when I don’t understand God’s ways, and occasionally I’m just world-weary.

 

In looking at this Old Testament scripture, I remembered that there were times when God in all His holiness drew a line for the sinful people and basically said, “You can only come this close to me.” He did it as the people stood in awe watching His presence approach Mount Sinai. Jesus’ life, though, was purposed to erase any of the barriers for those who desire to know and worship God in a completely up-close way. As Hebrews 10 tells us, Jesus is our great priest who allows us to “draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.”

 

I ask you to come with me and draw near to God. Let’s start walking away from the safety of our “tents” and shed all the fear, shame, weariness and unworthiness as we move toward His throne to worship. He has invited us to come close through the life, death and resurrection of His Son Jesus. I accept!

 

Dear Lord, help me to worship you in the closeness that You desire. Your Spirit has issued an invitation for me to draw near, and I want to be in Your presence. Thank You for making that possible through your Son. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Related Resources:

Do You Know Jesus?

 

The Air I Breathe by Louie Giglio

 

Broken into Beautiful: How God Restores a Wounded Heart by Gwen Smith

 

Visit Amy’s blog

 

Application Steps: 

Remember that you are God’s precious child. If you have accepted Jesus as Lord, you are adopted into His family.

 

Read the power verses below and ask God to help you develop a new intimacy with Him.

 

Reflections: 

What keeps me from worshiping God up-close?

 

Power Verses:

Hebrews 4:16, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (NIV)

 

Romans 8:15, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” (NIV)

 

 

© 2009 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

 

Proverbs 31 Ministries

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