“What other people is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?” Deuteronomy 4:7
Living on “Robertson Row”, as a few of my friends call our short cul-de-sac, is very different from any other place I’ve ever lived. Out of eight homes on our little street, the four Robertson brothers live in four of them. The other four are filled with either extended family or good friends. It’s quite a little utopia, and we are very blessed. Even while I’ve been trying to write this blog for the past hour, I’ve been delayed several times due to multiple slams of my kitchen door ushering the back and forth of little faces, requests for me to see the latest slime creation and the excited pleas to stop everything and look up dates for summer camp.
A few weeks ago we were eating dinner at our dining room table when our kitchen door flies open and Bailey Kay, Alan’s granddaughter, slams it shut and runs into our bathroom. A few minutes later she came out of the bathroom and headed back out the kitchen door (followed by the familiar slam), all without ever saying a word. After she was quickly outside and back on her bicycle, Jase said, “Nice to see ya again, B.K.” We all chuckled. That’s life on “Robertson Row”. Bailey obviously felt quite comfortable, not only entering our home without knocking, but she felt the same level of comfort entering our bathroom--our “holy of holies”--our inner sanctum—our throne room. And we were perfectly comfortable with her entering without first hearing a knock. What makes her different from someone living around the corner that we don’t know? She is family. Family is welcome at any time, day or night.
When we pray to God, we have that same invitation. We can approach God with any request at any time. Did you know that this was not always so? In the Old Testament, there were many rules and laws that surrounded approaching God in the inner most room inside the Temple. Not just anyone could do it. I would list the laws here, but it would take pages! You can read them yourself in Exodus 35-40:33. You do need to know that there were many curtains that separated each section from the previous one, leading into the innermost sanctum where God would take the requests of the High Priest. This was called the Most Holy Place or the Holy of Holies.
The Holy of Holies was the very interior room and was covered by a veil. No one was allowed to enter except the High Priest, and even he could only enter once a year to offer the blood of sacrifice and incense before God on behalf of the Israelite people.
Many years later at the precise moment that Jesus took his last breath on that cross, the curtain into the Most Holy Place tore apart from top to bottom. This signified that the old way to approach God was demolished and that Jesus was now our High Priest. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we can walk straight into the arms of our Father.
Hebrews 4:14-16 explains, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess…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.”
In John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
The high priests of the past would have to wait to approach God for an entire year. We can talk to God whenever we wish: in the car, beside our bed, on the phone with a friend, in our pew, even in our heads. Paul tells us in I Thessalonians 5:17 to “pray continually”.
God wants us to draw near to him. He wants to have a relationship with each and every one of us. He wants us as his children. His family. And just like B.K., we can enter the Throne Room without even knocking.
Have an inviting week!