Day 51

How to Meet with God

Wisdom Psalm 24:1-10
New Testament Mark 5:21-6:6a
Old Testament Exodus 27:1-28:43

Introduction

In 1949, one of the greatest revivals in the history of the United Kingdom took place in the Hebrides. Duncan Campbell, the preacher at the centre of the revival, later described how it began.

Seven men and two women had decided to pray earnestly for revival. One night, at a prayer meeting held in a barn, a young man took his Bible and read from Psalm 24 (the psalm for today): ‘Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart’ (vv.3–4a).

He shut his Bible and said, ‘It seems to me just so much sentimental humbug to be praying as we are praying, to be waiting as we are waiting here, if we ourselves are not rightly related to God.’ He asked God to reveal if his own hands were clean and his own heart was pure.

That night God met with them in a powerful way. As they waited on God ‘his awesome presence swept the barn’. They came to understand that revival is always related to holiness. A power was let loose that shook the parish from centre to circumference.

‘Three men were lying on the straw having fallen under the power of God. They were lifted out of the ordinary into the extraordinary. They knew that God had visited them and neither they nor their parish could ever be the same again.’

Four miles away, two sisters aged eighty-two and eighty-four had a vision of God. They saw the churches crowded and the youth and the community flocking into the churches. They had ‘a glorious assurance that God was coming in revival power’.

Duncan Campbell was invited to come and speak to them. When he arrived in the parish church, it was packed out with hundreds waiting outside. No one could explain where they had come from. Within ten minutes of the service starting, men and woman were crying out to God. They were meeting with God in all his holiness.

There was such a sense of the presence of God on the island that a businessman visiting said, ‘The moment I stepped ashore I was suddenly conscious of the presence of God.’ God was meeting with his people.

How do you and I meet with God?

Wisdom

Psalm 24:1-10

Of David. A psalm.

1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
  the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it on the seas
  and established it on the waters.

3 Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
  Who may stand in his holy place?
4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
  who does not trust in an idol
  or swear by a false god.

5 They will receive blessing from the Lord
  and vindication from God their Savior.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
  who seek your face, God of Jacob.

7 Lift up your heads, you gates;
  be lifted up, you ancient doors,
  that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory?
  The Lord strong and mighty,
  the Lord mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, you gates;
  lift them up, you ancient doors,
  that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory?
  The Lord Almighty —
  he is the King of glory.

Commentary

Awesome privilege

David starts this psalm with a reminder that God is a mighty creator: ‘The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it’ (v.1). He ends with a reminder that God is a glorious King. Five times he is referred to as ‘the King of glory’ (vv.7b,8a,9b,10a,10b). He is ‘The Lord Almighty – he is the King of glory’ (v.10b).

In light of the awesome nature of God, David asks the question, ‘Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?’ (v.3). The answer is only those who are totally pure: ‘The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol’ (v.4).

Yet, we know that no one lives like this. It is only through Jesus that we can be made holy and approach God with confidence: ‘For by one sacrifice he has made perfect for ever those who are being made holy’ (Hebrews 10:14).

Prayer

Lord, I want to meet with you today. Show me whether my hands are clean and my heart is pure. Thank you that through the blood of Jesus I can be made holy. Forgive me, cleanse me and fill me again with your Spirit.

New Testament

Mark 5:21-6:6a

Jesus Raises a Dead Girl and Heals a Sick Woman

21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

A Prophet Without Honor

6Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.

“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve

Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.

Commentary

Act of faith

Are you struggling with a long-term problem in your life that does not seem to be getting any better (5:26)? Have you ever been ‘seized with alarm’ and ‘struck with fear’ (v.36, AMPC)? We see in this passage how Jesus responded to people in these situations.

In the New Testament, we have the extraordinary sense of people meeting God through Jesus. St John (1 John 1:1) writes about ‘the Word of Life’ whom ‘we have heard’ (Mark 5:27), ‘we have seen with our own eyes’ (v.22) and ‘our hands have touched’ (vv.27,30–31).

People who came into contact with Jesus seemed to have a sense of coming into the presence of a holy God. Jairus ‘prostrated himself at His feet’ (v.22, AMP). The sick woman ‘fell at his feet’ (v.33).

This woman had suffered from a chronic disease for twelve years, which was incurable at that time (v.26). ‘She heard about Jesus’ (v.27) and she responded with faith. She ‘touched his cloak’ because she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed’ (vv.27–28). ‘Immediately, her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering’ (v.29).

Contact with Jesus had a profound impact on people. Jesus says to the sick woman, ‘Go in peace and be freed from your suffering’ (v.34). The pain of the past twelve years is replaced by peace and freedom. Whatever you are struggling with in your life and however long it has been going on, like this woman, reach out to Jesus for help.

Jairus’ daughter experiences the ultimate impact of meeting with Jesus as she is brought back to life. When Jesus arrived, there was anything but an atmosphere of faith. There was a commotion and wailing. They said, don’t ‘bother’ Jesus (v.35). But Jesus said, ‘Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear; only keep on believing’ (v.36, AMP).

Jesus said, ‘The child is not dead but asleep’ (v.39). Since Jesus was going to raise her up, her death was no more permanent than falling asleep. The apostle Paul, like Jesus, used the term ‘falling asleep’. When you fall into a deep sleep, the next thing you know it is morning. When you die in Christ, the next thing you know you will be with the Lord.

Jesus took with him just three of the disciples whose faith he could trust (in addition to the parents). He appears to have wanted there to be an atmosphere of faith as he prayed for her to be raised from the dead.

There was nothing ‘super-spiritual’ about Jesus. He is very practical. He told them to ‘give her something to eat’ (v.43). Again, the account starts with fear and ends with faith.

When people saw what Jesus did they were ‘completely astonished’ (v.42b) and ‘amazed’ (6:2b). Of course, as today, not everyone had that reaction. Some ‘laughed at him’ (5:40) and some ‘took offence at him’ (6:3). In his hometown Jesus was ‘a prophet... without honour’ (6:4). Those closest to him failed to recognise him. Sometimes we find it hard to take things from those we know best.

As today, some recognised Jesus and some totally missed out. The key distinction was whether or not they had ‘faith’. He said to the sick woman, ‘Your faith has healed you’ (5:34). He said to Jairus, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe’ (v.36b). In his hometown he was ‘amazed at their lack of faith’ (6:6).

Through his death on the cross, Jesus fulfilled the criteria for meeting God. Now it is by faith that you and I encounter Jesus and, through him, meet with God.

Prayer

Lord, thank you that it is by faith that I encounter you. Lord, increase my faith. When I am ‘seized with alarm’ or ‘struck with fear’, help me to ‘keep on believing’.

Old Testament

Exodus 27:1-28:43

The Altar of Burnt Offering

27“Build an altar of acacia wood, three cubits high; it is to be square, five cubits long and five cubits wide. 2 Make a horn at each of the four corners, so that the horns and the altar are of one piece, and overlay the altar with bronze. 3 Make all its utensils of bronze—its pots to remove the ashes, and its shovels, sprinkling bowls, meat forks and firepans. 4 Make a grating for it, a bronze network, and make a bronze ring at each of the four corners of the network. 5 Put it under the ledge of the altar so that it is halfway up the altar. 6 Make poles of acacia wood for the altar and overlay them with bronze. 7 The poles are to be inserted into the rings so they will be on two sides of the altar when it is carried. 8 Make the altar hollow, out of boards. It is to be made just as you were shown on the mountain.

The Courtyard

9 “Make a courtyard for the tabernacle. The south side shall be a hundred cubits long and is to have curtains of finely twisted linen, 10 with twenty posts and twenty bronze bases and with silver hooks and bands on the posts. 11 The north side shall also be a hundred cubits long and is to have curtains, with twenty posts and twenty bronze bases and with silver hooks and bands on the posts.

12 “The west end of the courtyard shall be fifty cubits wide and have curtains, with ten posts and ten bases. 13 On the east end, toward the sunrise, the courtyard shall also be fifty cubits wide. 14 Curtains fifteen cubits long are to be on one side of the entrance, with three posts and three bases, 15 and curtains fifteen cubits long are to be on the other side, with three posts and three bases.

16 “For the entrance to the courtyard, provide a curtain twenty cubits long, of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen—the work of an embroiderer —with four posts and four bases. 17 All the posts around the courtyard are to have silver bands and hooks, and bronze bases. 18 The courtyard shall be a hundred cubits long and fifty cubits wide, with curtains of finely twisted linen five cubits high, and with bronze bases. 19 All the other articles used in the service of the tabernacle, whatever their function, including all the tent pegs for it and those for the courtyard, are to be of bronze.

Oil for the Lampstand

20 “Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning. 21 In the tent of meeting, outside the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law, Aaron and his sons are to keep the lamps burning before the Lord from evening till morning. This is to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for the generations to come.

The Priestly Garments

28“Have Aaron your brother brought to you from among the Israelites, along with his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, so they may serve me as priests. 2 Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron to give him dignity and honor. 3 Tell all the skilled workers to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest. 4 These are the garments they are to make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a woven tunic, a turban and a sash. They are to make these sacred garments for your brother Aaron and his sons, so they may serve me as priests. 5 Have them use gold, and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and fine linen.

The Ephod

6 “Make the ephod of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen—the work of skilled hands. 7 It is to have two shoulder pieces attached to two of its corners, so it can be fastened. 8 Its skillfully woven waistband is to be like it—of one piece with the ephod and made with gold, and with blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and with finely twisted linen.

9 “Take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel 10 in the order of their birth—six names on one stone and the remaining six on the other. 11 Engrave the names of the sons of Israel on the two stones the way a gem cutter engraves a seal. Then mount the stones in gold filigree settings 12 and fasten them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. Aaron is to bear the names on his shoulders as a memorial before the Lord. 13 Make gold filigree settings 14 and two braided chains of pure gold, like a rope, and attach the chains to the settings.

The Breastpiece

15 “Fashion a breastpiece for making decisions—the work of skilled hands. Make it like the ephod: of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen. 16 It is to be square—a span long and a span wide—and folded double. 17 Then mount four rows of precious stones on it. The first row shall be carnelian, chrysolite and beryl; 18 the second row shall be turquoise, lapis lazuli and emerald; 19 the third row shall be jacinth, agate and amethyst; 20 the fourth row shall be topaz, onyx and jasper. Mount them in gold filigree settings. 21 There are to be twelve stones, one for each of the names of the sons of Israel, each engraved like a seal with the name of one of the twelve tribes.

22 “For the breastpiece make braided chains of pure gold, like a rope. 23 Make two gold rings for it and fasten them to two corners of the breastpiece. 24 Fasten the two gold chains to the rings at the corners of the breastpiece, 25 and the other ends of the chains to the two settings, attaching them to the shoulder pieces of the ephod at the front. 26 Make two gold rings and attach them to the other two corners of the breastpiece on the inside edge next to the ephod. 27 Make two more gold rings and attach them to the bottom of the shoulder pieces on the front of the ephod, close to the seam just above the waistband of the ephod. 28 The rings of the breastpiece are to be tied to the rings of the ephod with blue cord, connecting it to the waistband, so that the breastpiece will not swing out from the ephod.

29 “Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of decision as a continuing memorial before the Lord. 30 Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron’s heart whenever he enters the presence of the Lord. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the Lord.

Other Priestly Garments

31 “Make the robe of the ephod entirely of blue cloth, 32 with an opening for the head in its center. There shall be a woven edge like a collar around this opening, so that it will not tear. 33 Make pomegranates of blue, purple and scarlet yarn around the hem of the robe, with gold bells between them. 34 The gold bells and the pomegranates are to alternate around the hem of the robe. 35 Aaron must wear it when he ministers. The sound of the bells will be heard when he enters the Holy Place before the Lord and when he comes out, so that he will not die.

36 “Make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal: holy to the Lord. 37 Fasten a blue cord to it to attach it to the turban; it is to be on the front of the turban. 38 It will be on Aaron’s forehead, and he will bear the guilt involved in the sacred gifts the Israelites consecrate, whatever their gifts may be. It will be on Aaron’s forehead continually so that they will be acceptable to the Lord.

39 “Weave the tunic of fine linen and make the turban of fine linen. The sash is to be the work of an embroiderer. 40 Make tunics, sashes and caps for Aaron’s sons to give them dignity and honor. 41 After you put these clothes on your brother Aaron and his sons, anoint and ordain them. Consecrate them so they may serve me as priests.

42 “Make linen undergarments as a covering for the body, reaching from the waist to the thigh. 43 Aaron and his sons must wear them whenever they enter the tent of meeting or approach the altar to minister in the Holy Place, so that they will not incur guilt and die.

“This is to be a lasting ordinance for Aaron and his descendants.

Commentary

Access through Jesus

We cannot fully understand what an amazing privilege it is to be able to meet with God without seeing the Old Testament background. Here we see a description of the Tent of Meeting (27:21), (where God meets with Moses and the priests: 30:36; 28:30). It was an awesome thing to enter into the ‘presence of the Lord’ (28:30a). Aaron was entering the ‘Holy Place before the Lord’ (v.35).

The writer of Hebrews explains how all this points to Jesus. The tabernacle was just ‘a copy and shadow of what is in heaven’ (Hebrews 8:5a). Even so, the priests were only allowed to enter the Holy Place, and not the Most Holy Place. ‘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’ (9:8). This was an illustration (v.9a).

As the writer of Hebrews shows, this passage forms the background to Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf – making it possible for you and me to meet with a holy God through the blood of Jesus, offered ‘once for all’ (v.26).

Prayer

Lord, thank you that you have made it possible, through the blood of Jesus, for me to enter the Most Holy Place and to come into the presence of the Lord. Thank you that I have access through Jesus ‘to the Father by one Spirit’ (Ephesians 2:18). Thank you that I can meet with you.

Pippa adds

Mark 5:21–34

Are there things in our life we feel we just can’t ask Jesus about; they’re too embarrassing and awkward? The woman in this passage in Mark puts her embarrassment aside and she reaches out and touches Jesus; and he heals her. And all her shame, suffering and embarrassment disappear in an instant.

Verse of the Day

Mark 5:36

‘Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid; just believe”’
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References

The One Year® is a registered trademark of Tyndale House Publishers. Used by permission.

Duncan Campbell, The Price and Power of Revival, (Faith Mission, 2000).

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.

Scripture quotations marked (AMP) taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)

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