Hebrews 9: 1 -3
“That first covenant between God and Israel had regulations for worship and a place of worship here on earth. There were two rooms in that Tabernacle. In the first room were a lampstand, a table, and sacred loaves of bread on the table. This room was called the Holy Place. Then there was a curtain, and behind the curtain was the second room called the Most Holy Place.” (NLT)
Extended reading: Hebrews 9
There is a very famous quote from Alfred P. Gibbs that reads,
“Prayer is the occupation of the soul with its needs.
Praise is the occupation of the soul with its blessings.
Worship is the occupation of the soul with God Himself.
Prayer and praise is something we mostly understand – to a fair extent. After all, it is about us. It is about what we want and our response when we get it. But worship? It is about God. About Him alone.
Worship is with Him and Him alone. There is no one else involved.
The difference is like the difference between The Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. For the uninitiated, when God gave the design for the temple, there were three parts of the temple – the courtyard, the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. Everybody had access to the courtyard. The Holy Place was limited to the priests and the Levites (tribe in Israel). The Holy of Holies was accessed once in a year by the High Priest only.
Hebrews 9: 1 -3 “That first covenant between God and Israel had regulations for worship and a place of worship here on earth. There were two rooms in that Tabernacle. In the first room were a lampstand, a table, and sacred loaves of bread on the table. This room was called the Holy Place. Then there was a curtain, and behind the curtain was the second roomcalled the Most Holy Place.”
Vs. 4 – 5 “In that room were a gold incense altar and a wooden chest called the Ark of the Covenant, which was covered with gold on all sides. Inside the Ark were a gold jar containing manna, Aaron’s staff that sprouted leaves, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the Ark were the cherubim of divine glory, whose wings stretched out over the Ark’s cover, the place of atonement. But we cannot explain these things in detail now.”
Vs. 6 reads, “When these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the first room as they performed their religious duties.”
That is the Holy Place. A place where we frequent when spend our mornings with the Bible, in family prayer, in church, in fellowship etc.
Vs. 7 – “But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.”
The Most Holy Place or the Holy of Holies. One man had access to it once in a year.
Things changed when Jesus died on the cross. “Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.” (Matthew 27: 50, 51). God opened up the Holy of Holies to everyone. A place where only one person was allowed to go once in a year was opened to everyone. Not just on Sunday. But every day of the year. Any time.
The Holy of Holies is where you go to know your Creator – where He reveals Himself to you. A place of intimacy. There are no standard operating procedures there. No presumptions. We are allowed to come just as we are. The only qualification we are required to have is provided by God.
Read 1 Peter 2: 9, 10 – “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
“Once you had no identity as a people;
now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
now you have received God’s mercy.””
We are chosen. Washed. Sanctified. Redeemed. Today, we have access to the Most Holy Place. The throne of God. We have access to a place we never deserved. If you have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have access to the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. When you make that decision, you enter the Holy Place. But the Holy of Holies? That is a place where we take the step to get closer first.
So when we, as priests, access the Holy Place with songs and prayers – when we go to church, house church, meetings, family prayer, personal prayer, roadside prayer – the question is, do we also access the Holy of Holies? Do we enter the very presence of God and enjoy a personal God&Me time?
In worship, your spirit and God’s Spirit is in communion. The experience is quite indescribable, for it needs to be experienced by us, individually. A place where you experience Christ in Christianity.
What do I pray?
Lord, I praise You for all that You do in my life. Help me enter Your holy presence today. Prepare me. Sanctify me. In Jesus’ name.
Next week: We will look at what is supposed to happen in worship.
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