In the chapter entitled, "Removing the Veil", he describes how the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies of the Jewish temple once a year to make a sacrifice for the people's sins. When passing through the veil between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, the priest entered into the very presence of the Living God, who dwelt on the Mercy Seat of the ark of the covenant.
I began to think of what a pronounced effect this must have on the life of that man. To have entered the physical presence of God and lived. How must that have changed that priest forever? Or did it?
I remember the first baby I ever delivered, but for reasons much different than you might expect. I remember it was extremely disappointing. At the hospital where I first learned obstetrics, the residents would have each new nurse gown and glove and sit at the end of the delivery table to do our first delivery. They would stand behind us and tell us exactly what to do, where to put our hands, exactly step by step how to deliver a baby. They would show us how to hold that slippery, wiggling baby so that it couldn’t be dropped, too!
One night, it was my turn. I sat there looking at a woman I had never met. I went through the motions just as the resident directed me and before I knew it, I was holding a slippery, little baby…something. I don’t even remember now if it was a boy or girl. As I did all the rest of the things that had to be done during a delivery, I realized I didn’t feel as I thought I would feel.
I was expecting to feel excited, elated, thrilled. After all, I had just delivered a baby! That was something really big! I felt about as much emotion as if I had picked up a watermelon at the grocery store and put it in my basket. In fact, I know I have felt more emotion over a really good watermelon!
I finished my shift and at home, told my family about my new accomplishment. They were thrilled and elated, but I still felt empty and disappointed. It took a long time, and a lot of deliveries later, for me to realize what was missing.
During that very first delivery, I was a robot going through the motions for someone I had never even met. Almost every other delivery I have done, I have had some involvement or relationship with the mother and her family, some connection, so the event wasn’t just delivering a baby, it was delivering joy.
The difference, of course, is relationship. That priest entering into the Holy of Holies may have done all the proper preparation for the sacrifice, might have gone through all the correct motions, but still might have had no relationship with the God in whose presence he found himself. If that was the case, he probably left with few differences than when he went in.
We, too, can go through the motions of "sacrifices". We can do the things that seem holy -- to ourselves and to the world -- and yet not have entered one bit into a deeper relationship or a greater knowledge of our Lord.
Thankfully, we no longer have to go to a Holy Place to find that Presence of God, indeed, if we have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, He comes to make our hearts His dwelling place and we become that Holy of Holies. How sad then if we do not enter in to as much of a relationship as we can, thereby "birthing" greater knowledge and understanding and communication with our God in an every growing, ever deepening union. Every prayer, every hymn, every moment, every breath should cause us to be different because we have touched the Living God.
"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen."
2 Peter 3:18