9 Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. 2 A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand and the table with its consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, 4 which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5 Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now. 6 When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. 7 But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8 The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. 9 This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10 They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.
Paul’s audience was very familiar with the system that was in place for the Jews to worship God. I know that we come to our faith experience with different cultural eyes to those original readers, but I am challenged as to whether or not I treat my faith experience as if I am really part of a new agreement between God and mankind, or whether I act as if it is the same old system the Jews embraced.
What I mean is this – when I come to be in the presence of God, am I letting others do all the work for me? Do I participate only as an observer, happily letting those I think are more spiritual or more in tune with God, or whose ‘job it is’ to do all the connecting? Or am I engaged in worship. Do I actively seek out the Presence of God, knowing Jesus has made it possible for me to connect directly with Him? Do I do this every day or do I just save it up for Sunday?
We are so blessed to be living out our faith in a time when we are able to freely and directly come before the Father because of the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf. We have direct access to God 24/7, not just once or twice a year when someone else does something on our behalf. The cost for the spiritual freedom we have was great indeed. I want to embrace that freedom to worship as often and as fully as I can.
Father God I thank you for the freedom you have given us to worship and to know you. I am sorry Lord if I have taken our relationship for granted. Thank you Jesus for all you have done for me. Help me Lord to reflect your glory in all that I do and in who I am. Amen
Written by Christine Knight