August 8, 2018 — A Sacred Space for God
How many times have we come to worship God and felt disqualified from His presence because of our sin and shame? Many times? Ezekiel has something to say to us on this subject.
In his vision, the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel saw a "sacred space for God" (Ezekiel 45:1, The Message). This new Temple he was given a tour of was a place for the people of the land to worship in the presence of the Lord [Ezekiel 46:3, 9-10]. Ezekiel described only two prerequisites to come into this sacred space, to enter the presence of the Lord:
The first is repentance. God’s message to the leaders (the "princes of Israel") was: "... Quit bullying and taking advantage of my people. Do what’s just and right for a change. Use honest scales — honest weights and honest measures." (Ezekiel 45:9-10, The Message).
The second is atonement. What is described in Ezekiel 45:15-17 is reminiscent of the Passover which symbolized how God passes over our sin (the blood put on the doorposts prefigured the blood of Christ). This part of the vision prefigured the work of Jesus on the Cross.
The number seven features heavily in Ezekiel's description in this part of the chapter: "the seventh day... a feast lasting seven days... every day during the seven days of the Feast he is to provide seven bulls and seven rams without defect... during the seven days, which begins in the seventh month...’ (Ezekiel 45: 20, 21, 23, 25, NIV). Seven is the perfect number. It points to the one perfect and sufficient sacrifice and atonement made by Jesus for us which enables us to come into the presence of the Lord.
I find that in exactly the place I expect rejection, I discover His mercy. Where I anticipate His repulsion, I discover His embrace. Where I expect His rebuff, I encounter His empathy.
In all our failings, He is calling us to, "...draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." (Hebrews 10:22, ESV). So don't hold back
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