Unrestricted Access to the Father: Part II in a Series
No one spoke more majestically or powerfully of God than this man did.
Yet, even so, David didn’t have the privilege of going into the most holy place.
All through the Psalms, David speaks of yearning and panting after God.
He cried out to get beyond the veil, to something he couldn’t obtain: "Deep calleth unto deep" (Psalm 42:7).
Solomon also expresses this kind of unmet yearning to get to the Lord: "My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door and my bowels were moved for him.
"I rose up to open to my beloved...
"I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself and was gone...
"I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer" (Song of Solomon 5:4-6).
Here is the language of divine longing: "I sought for him, I yearned for him, I wanted him.
"But I couldn’t find him."
Israel Saw God as Dwelling In the Temple, in a Room Called the Most Holy Place.
Solomon built a majestic temple in Jerusalem to God’s glory.
When the structure was finished, "he brought in all the things that David his father had dedicated; and the silver and the gold and all the instruments...and they brought up the ark...unto his place" (2 Chronicles 5:1, 5, 7).
After everything was put in place, Solomon invited God to come and sanctify the most holy place with his presence.
And God did, descending in a cloud and filling the temple.
Everyone in Israel believed God resided in the great temple in Jerusalem.
Therefore, the Israelites directed all their prayers toward it.
Solomon asked the Lord, "If thy people go out to war against their enemies by the way that thou shalt send them and they pray unto thee toward this city which thou hast chosen and the house which I have built for thy name; then hear thou from the heavens their prayer and their supplication and maintain their cause: (2 Chronicles 6:34-35).
Solomon was asking , "Lord, when our armies go to war against our enemies, hear them as they offer prayers toward you here, in your temple.
"Give them success in battle."
They thought of God as not being on the battlefield, but in that holy room in Jerusalem.
Moreover, if Israel went into captivity, they were to "pray toward their land...and toward the house which I have built for thy name...then hear thou from the heavens" (6:38-39).
This is why Daniel opened his window in Babylon and prayed toward Jerusalem (see Daniels 6:10)
Today, the Jews still turn toward Jerusalem to pray.
I was once on a plane when an Orthodox Jew put on his prayer shawl, stood in the aisle and prayed toward Jerusalem.
Yet, in spite of God’s glory in the temple — in spite of visions and dreams given to prophets, in spite of visitations of angels — God’s people remained outside the veil.
The door to the holy place hadn’t yet been opened.
And access to him was still restricted.
Jesus Brought With Him a Greater Measure of Access.
Christ’s life in human flesh provided greater access to the father.
Yet even then, access was still very restricted.
When Jesus came to the world as a babe, only a few people were present, a handful of shepherds and wise men.
The rest of humankind was oblivious to him coming.
Back at the temple in Jerusalem, the priests were going about their duties and the people were saying prayers, all following their usual routines.
When Jesus was a young boy, a few people saw him in the temple. These were mostly priests and scribes who marveled at his knowledge of God’s word. But the general public didn’t know about him.
Later, others met him in the carpentry shop where he toiled.
But who could believe Jesus was God in flesh, as he repaired their broken chairs?
He was merely Joseph’s son, a fine young man who knew a lot about God.
When Jesus began his ministry, he directed his words to a small population in a very small country — that is, to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
And because he could only be in one place at a time, access to him was restricted by logistics.
If you wanted to get to Jesus, you had to go to Judah.
So, if you lived outside of Israel, you had to travel for days or weeks by boat, camel or foot.
Then you had to trace his presence to a village, find a crowd there and ask them to locate him.
Or, if he’d just left town, you had to listen for rumors to find out where he was going. You might have to hire a boat to take you to the other side of a large lake, or walk all day and night to get to the wilderness where he was teaching the masses.
Once you found Jesus, you had to be physically close to hear his voice, receive his touch, be blessed by his holy presence.