“You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel” (Exodus 25:21-22).
Do you struggle with studying God’s Word and praying to Him each day? Many of us do. Why is this? Perhaps, it is because we fail to understand the blessing of having this level of access to Him.
After giving the children of Israel many of God’s instructions to them, Moses headed back up to Mount Sinai for God to give him additional instruction to pass on to His people (Exodus 24:12-18). Many of these commandments focused on the Tabernacle where Israel would go worship God. The Lord gives detailed instructions on how this was to be built and what was to be in it (Exodus 25:9-27:21). In one area of this Tabernacle, the Most Holy Place, God instructed Moses to build an ark above which was a mercy seat. God said, “And there I will meet with you…” (Exodus 25:21).
During this period, all the priest were allowed into the first section of the tabernacle called the Holy Place, but only the High Priest was allowed in this Most Holy Place to be able to “meet with God”. The Hebrew writer states: “But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people's sins committed in ignorance; the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing” (Hebrews 9:7-8). There was no way for a common person of the children of Israel to gain access to the Most Holy Place and “meet with God” at the mercy seat.
However, as Christians we have Christ as our High Priest. He entered the Most Holy Place, not offering the blood of some animal, but coming to offer His own blood. By the sacrifice of Himself, He made it possible for all His followers to be redeemed from their sins: “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:11-12).
Because of His sacrifice, as Christians, we no longer have to go through a separate high priest to “meet with God”: “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:19-23).
As a Christian, I realize I am in continual need of God’s grace and mercy as I journey through this life. Because of what Christ did for me in sacrificing Himself for my sins, unlike those who lived in the Old Testament period, I don’t have to go through a separate high priest to “meet with God” for me. I have the privilege of meeting with God everyday by letting Him speak to me through His Word and for me to speak with Him through prayer. I rejoice that I have this blessing. Today, I will show I appreciate this blessing by taking time to “meet with God by studying His Word and praying to Him!
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).