Exodus 30:20 When they go into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to the Lord, they shall wash with water, lest they die. (NKJV)
The Jewish Tabernacle was a good picture of how to approach God. The temple layout was done according to very explicit instructions from God. To ignore or violate the Lord’s precise method of entering His presence resulted in severe consequences to the careless or rebellious.
Through the death of Jesus, we now have direct access to the Throne Room of Grace, though our approach should be no less careful and reverent. The symbology of the tabernacle gives us an idea of how to approach the Lord in prayer. It’s not a magic formula or legalistic requirement. It is a picture of how serious approaching God is. The ideas remain the same for us, but they are manifested differently because of Jesus.
- The Gate into the Temple area – represented one way to God
- The Alter – symbolizes sacrificing your life to God, being washed by the blood of Christ
- The Laver – where you cleanse yourself from the filth of sin and purify your life before moving on towards fellowship with God
- The Lampstand & Show Bread – partaking of God’s word and having it illuminate you
The priest would now be ready to enter God’s presence. There is much more to it than this, but you have the basic idea. Here we have a revealing look at how to move into prayer and communication with the Lord (again, not legalistic or magic, but it is an accurate picture).
What happens if you skip an area, or take a different path? What if we bypassed the Laver failing to purify our life of sin and simply entered into God’s presence unwashed? Scripture gives us insight about the effects on prayer spoken offered with unconfessed sin:
- God will not forgive us if we harbor unforgiveness – Mark 11.25
- Husbands who do not honor their wives may have their prayers hindered – 1Peter 3.7
- God doesn’t answer the prideful – Job 35.12
- Ignoring God’s law makes your prayer an abomination – Prov. 28.9
- Doubt can cause God to not respond – James 1.6-7
We should not underestimate the effects of unconfessed sin on our prayers. God is holy. He does not tolerate sin in His presence. On one hand, we are allowed directly into His presence because of the imputed righteousness of Christ through His shed blood for our sins. On the other hand with regards to daily sanctification, we must wash the stains of sin from our lives before approaching a holy God in prayer. How?
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (NKJV)
Repentance and confession are the Christian laver. Confession is our spiritual wash basin where we are cleansed from the residue and filth of living in a sin-fallen world. Through confession, God is faithful to forgive us and cleanse from all transgression making us fit to approach God once more.
This morning as you enter into prayer with God, have you washed the filth of sin from your life? Will you approach God stained with unconfessed wickedness, or stop by the Laver and take a spiritual bath?
Most Holy God, help us to understand the serious nature of entering Your Presence. Give us wisdom to know the importance of confessing sin and washing the stain of wickedness away before approaching You. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Contemplation: When you enter into prayer, are you aware that you are approaching God? Do you cleanse yourself of sin before entering into His presence? Do you daily confess your sin?
Application: Just as it is important to bathe our bodies daily, it is important to bathe our spirits. Confession of sin should be as normal and regular as taking a bath or shower. Keep short accounts with God concerning sin, confess every day to avoid the effects of sin “build up”.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?