In my quiet time tonight, I was reminded of the absolute gift we've been given: access to Gods presence. This is a gift I fail to treasure day to day. As I laid before the Lord in praise and adoration, the sweetness of His presence filled my room and with it came a gentle nudge reminding me of my time with Him at the western wall on the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem. Otherwise known as the "wailing wall". The only point on the face of the earth the Jewish people believe they are close enough to maybe be within yards of an access point to Gods presence. As I stood staring at a crowded wall full of people hungering for God's presence, my heart broke. My journey to and through Israel was an eye-opening adventure alongside the Lord as He unraveled before me the depth of His love for Israel. As I caught glimpses of God's passionate love for Israel through his people and seeing His word come to life, I too began to fall in love with the land of Israel and the Jewish people. And in the moment I stood staring at this massive wall filled with little prayers written on papers and jammed into the cracks while witnessing people crying out to God for a taste of His presence, I was overcome with gratitude for the gospel. Jesus. The One who was, who is, and who is to come. The spotless lamb of God who's sacrifice was completely sufficient for all the sins of the world.
This is key:
Sin separates us from God. When Adam and Eve royally screwed up in the garden, we all ended up tasting of sin..that's why we live in such a dark and broken world. The deeply loving God who created us is HOLY. Spotless. Unable to be in the presence of filth and evil. So when Adam and Eve partnered with the lies of the enemy and stepped into agreement with sin, they gave up their access to God's presence. We too have partnered with sin, therefore unable to truly access the presence of God..unable to have a relationship with Him.
So this is all basic, but crucial to remember in really seeing the picture being painting here, so bare with me..
If you explore the history of God's people in the bible, His covenant began with a faithful lover of God names Abraham. God was so pleased with Abrahams faithfulness to Him that He made Him a promise that still stands today. The promise was that Abraham (a 90-year old man with no children) was to have more descendants than can be counted! (Genesis 12:1-3) This promise satisfied the deepest longing of Abrahams heart..to bear children and leave a legacy. Abrahams wife gave birth to a little miracle named Isaac, and Isaac gave birth to Jacob. The Lord changed Jacobs name to..take a guess..ISRAEL! (Genesis 35:10) The nation of Israel, and Jewish people are from the blood line of Abraham. Pretty amazing. As they journeyed through some crazy times (becoming slaves, getting set free, wandering around the desert, & finally entering into the promised land etc.) they established a place of worship where the arch of the covenant resided. The arch of the covenant carried the presence of God. Literally. When the nation of Israel took up residence in the promised land, a temple was build in honor of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob..this temple was for worship and giving sacrifices to the Lord..and this temple was the ONLY place on the face of the earth that the presence of the Lord resided. Waaaay back in the Holy of Holy's .. Only one super religious dude could access His presence once a year.
God's people LONGED to enter into His presence, and the Lord LONGED to have relationship with them as well, but God is holy and spotless and can not be in the presence of sin. This sin could be washed clean by blood sacrifice, but the issue was they walked right out of the temple and kept on sinning. It broke God's heart and He came up with a rescue plan. This plan was completely motivated by love, and I believe it is the greatest love story ever told.. The King of the universe stepping down off His thrown to live a perfect sinless life, and give himself up as the final sacrifice. The only sacrifice spotless enough to be sufficient. So powerful.
This is important because, when Jesus took the beating we deserved and freely gave up His life on that cross..something extravagent happened. Remember that temple I mentioned earlier? The only place where God's presence resided? Well there was this massive, thick, wall-like curtain..the veil, separating Gods presence from man. When Jesus took His last breathe on the cross...when the sacrifice was freely given, the veil was TORN. (Matthew 27:17) This was the Lord telling us we will soon have complete ACESS to His presence. (THIS IS FLIPPIN AWESOME ISNT IT?!) If you check out the book of Acts, you learn that access to the Lord's presence (the Holy Spirit) was given to those who BELIEVED in Jesus and what He said. Believed He was who He says He was and believed his sacrifice was sufficient. We are no longer too tainted with sin to enter into God's presence, but washed white as snow. ACESSS. Freely given! Ahhh, thank you Jesus!
This access is a gift unfathomably precious..and as I stood at the wailing wall realizing these people were deeply hungering for His presence, but do not have access because they have not believed in Jesus, my heart ached. I stood there and said to the Lord, "come Lord and give them a taste of your presence." That very moment I look up at the wall to find a dove sitting in a in a crevice of the wall directly in front of me. No words can express the beauty of that moment.
The access we have to God's presence, is of more value than silver and gold, and that access is freely given to us by having simple child-like faith in Jesus. Wow, what a gift.