Saturday, June 5, 2010

No Relationship, No Joy. . .

I have been re-reading A.W. Tozer's, "The Pursuit of God".

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


Unknown said...

This is a very convicting devotional- how sad it is that many in church meetings go home cold because they have not encountered Christ and many read their Bibles and pray and check that off for the day as if it's another thing to do. I have experienced both of these. I have also experienced encounteres with Christ that make me long for more of Him. I desire to live there always but often I've let other things and people come before Him in my heart which is sin. Please pray that I do not give into the things that distract from Him. I believe that when He is Lord of all, He enhances all of our encounters with others with His very Life.

Sue said...

I enjoyed this post very much. It is sad that some...a lot of...people just go through the motions. "Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer precious Lord..."

Frances Davis said...

Phyllis, I believe we all could pray the same thing. It is so easy to be distracted, even by things that seem so "right". Martha was "cumbered about much serving", but missed being at the feet of Jesus. How many times have I been guilty of serving, and not sitting at His feet?

Sue, that is one of my favorite hymns! As we share our ever present relationship with the Lord with those who are going through the motions, perhaps they will see just what it is they are missing. I know that is how it happened with me.