AT A DISTANCE
You are to worship at a distance. Exodus 24:1 (NIV)
I wrote a devotional yesterday with the same title, but a completely different verse, so my mind zoomed in on at a distance when I read our morning devotions.
God instructed Moses to bring Aaron, Nadab and Abihu plus the seventy elders of Israel to come up to Him to worship at a distance. But only Moses was allowed to approach the LORD.
Peter followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire. Mark 14:54
What I find interesting is the action going on around these 2 verses. The LORD is wanting Moses and the men to come worship Him, but at a distance, with Moses being allowed to come further up to Him. Peter, on the other hand, had just abandoned Jesus in the Garden, but now is back and at a distance.
Isn’t this the way we do life sometimes?
I do recognize the difference between the Old and New Testaments – Jesus broke the veil between God and us and we have been given the Holy Spirit to have complete access to God in worship – thereby lessening the distance. But, I am wondering if we create that distance. Do we forget or neglect our opportunity to worship the LORD of LORDS? Do we forget how instantaneous our access truly is to the throne room of God?
Hebrews 4:16 reminds us how we can boldly approach the throne room of God because of what Christ did on the Cross. We have full and complete access to the KING of KINGS. We find mercy there and receive grace to help us in our time of need. And while we are there, we can fall down in worship because we are in the very presence of God. We are not at a distance, we are at His feet.
Peter left but came back. His denial is forthcoming, but he’s here in the courtyard, now nonetheless. He followed Jesus – not right away, but he did come. He wasn’t coerced, roped into or pushed. Many give him a bad rap – but my question I pose to you, where were the others? We know John came back as well, but outside of these 2, Jesus’s friends were MIA.
“You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’” Mark 14:27
Jesus foretold the disciples they would abandon Him. And, in fact, they did. In His darkest hour. But, it seems Peter cannot stay away. He was wanting something more – he is the disciple that previously had correctly identified Jesus as the Christ. He was the one who was bold, impetuous, included in the inner circle.
There have been times when I go to church and am just not there. Oh, I am physically present but my heart and mind are not. Whether I am overthinking a conversation from the past week or the morning, or carrying a burden I haven’t let go – I am thinking on self and not in a place of worship in my heart.
In a sense I have abandoned God with my own desires and wants and not followed Him to the throne room. I am content to sit in the courtyard of the high priest, warming myself by their fires, rather than letting God create a fire in me to rock the world.
It’s as if I am willing to stay down at the foot of the mountain when I can be at the feet of Jesus. Why do I do this?
My distance from God is just that – my distance. He has not moved. I am the wandering sheep, distracted soul, disobedient follower.
The longer I endure this affliction, the more I realize how important it is to be in the throne room of God. I cannot do this without Him, His grace and mercy, Jesus, the Holy Spirit. I just can’t. Nor do I want to attempt.
Oh, but my enemy loves to display his wares to me – all the bells and whistles and shiny trinkets he flaunts before my eyes. The loud clanging cymbals, anything to get my attention off God and onto me and the suffering feet.
When I am at my breaking point (which is right now), I have got to be laser focused. Piercing vision on my Saviour. Nothing in my line of sight. I’ve got to shorten my distance between myself and the LORD. Upon entering the Presence of God, I need to fling open heaven’s door, run into His room and jump into His lap. I may be disheveled, out of breath and talking a mile a minute – but the second I am in my favorite spot, my heart is at peace. I am home.
No distance exists. I can feel His heartbeat. I can hear His whisper. I can receive His love song as He sings over me. I can know His love. I can worship Him unashamedly. I can just be.
The feet don’t matter. Endurance is forgotten for the moment because it’s ok in His Presence. We chat. He showers me with His love and I submit in love to Him. It is good. So good.
Yes, Lord, I can keep going.
Thank You LORD for calling us higher to the mountain to worship You. Thank You for shortening the distance to Your very Presence. I love to bask in Your Presence. I love to just be near. And it is good to be near You. Yes, I can endure. Yes, I submit to You. Yes, my heart is at peace because I know You are with me. I give myself and ______ to You. I am Yours. Use me. In the name of Your Son, Jesus. AMEN