Thursday, August 5, 2010

Drawing Near to God

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

I find myself rehearsing this passage over and over when I begin to pray. This is a great reminder that through the blood of Christ we can approach the King of kings with confidence. It is also a promise that we may receive mercy and grace to help in time of need. But sometimes I wonder if I or we, as Christians, understand who this God is that we are approaching. We have the tendency to condemn those who bring God down to our level and think of him as nothing more than our homeboy. Sadly, without even realizing it, we can have the same tendency in prayer life. It is true that we can “draw near” to the throne of grace but I wonder if it is the same throne Isaiah saw in his vision. Or is it the same God who revealed himself to Job and caused Job to repent in dust and ashes? Or what about Habakkuk when he saw the reality of who God is and said, “I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me” (Hab. 3:16). I must confess this not the view of God I have in mind when I approach the throne of grace.

Sadly this has hindered my prayer life. Having a wrong or low view of God has made my prayer life sink to shallow times with a God who is not high and exalted. I have made him someone not much higher than I am. I have made him something of my own idea rather than knowing the true God described in the Scriptures. God is inexhaustibly great. I admit this is difficult to understand but we can understand to some degree because he has revealed himself in his word. The problem is we need to be more faithful to be in the word, not just seeking out answers for life, but getting to know our sovereign Ruler as well. If we would read a passage like Isaiah 6 and see God “sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple” with angelic beings saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”, this would increase our awe of the God we are approaching in prayer. May we strive to study God’s attributes in his word so when we approach the throne of grace we can bow humbly before our great God who listens to sinners like you and me and say with Isaiah, “Woe is me!” Then we will trust his promise that we will receive mercy and grace because we will understand that our perfect, holy God never fails in the promises he makes to his people.

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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