Summary: Comparing how the Jews accessed God and how we access God
Accessing God – The Old and New Way - Heb 9:1-11
Have you ever felt like God is so far away? So aloof. You pray to him, but the prayers don’t even get past the ceiling?
Following the Civil War, a dejected confederate soldier was sitting outside the grounds of the White House. A young boy approached him and inquired why he was so sad. The soldier related how he had repeatedly tried to see President Lincoln to tell him he was unjustly deprived of certain lands in the South following the war. On each occasion, as he attempted to enter the White House, the guards crossed their bayoneted guns in front of the door and turned him away. The boy motioned to the soldier to follow him. When they approached the guarded entrance, the soldiers came to attention, stepped back, and opened the door for the boy. He proceeded to the library where the President was resting and introduced the soldier to his father. The boy was Tad Lincoln. The soldier had gained an "introduction" (audience) with the President through the President’s son.
In a way, this is a bit of picture of what I want to talk about tonight. The US President is in some ways a bit like God.
The President is an important person – in comparison to God he is a nobody, but relative to us, he is important. God is supremely important
The Presidents sit in their lovely White House with all its luxuries. No one can just walk in off the street and see the president – He is isolated. God sits in his perfect heaven.
No one can approach God – He is holy.
To meet the president, we need an introduction by someone close to Him. To meet with God, we need an introduction by someone close to Him. – In the OT days, that was the High Priest. Now, that is through his Son, Jesus Christ.
Tonight, I want to pick up from where Des left off last week and I want to paint a picture about how people accessed God under the Old covenant and how we access God under the New Covenant.
If you’ve got your bibles there, turn with me to Heb 9:1.
The writer in Chapter 8 has written that the Old Covenant which the Jewish people had been relying on was flawed. Let’s read quickly from Heb 8:7 to bring you up to speed …
7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 8 But God found fault with the people and said :
[A covenant is an agreement between 2 parties. Each party usually has to do something. If either party fails to uphold their agreement, the covenant becomes null and void. The writer to the Hebrews says here that there was a covenant established – He calls it “the first covenant”. But there was a problem with it – not from God’s side, he did all he was required to do; - but from the people’s side. God’s people failed to fulfill the requirements of the covenant and it became null and void]
“The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 9 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.
[The old covenant was made with Israel as they came out slavery in Egypt and headed to the promised land. Ex 34:11 explains the covenant … Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. God’s part was to protect his people and look after them. Israel’s part was to obey the laws and regulations God placed before them. Israel was required to OUTWARDLY CONFORM to the requirements of the law. But Israel didn’t obey and so they broke the covenant and God turned away from them. Given that the first covenant was void, there was now room for a new covenant …]
10 This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 11 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
[The New covenant was not going to be based on people having to outwardly conform to the regulations of the law. It was going to be based on people being INWARDLY TRANSFORMED by the intent of the law. God said, that instead of having laws written on stone, we would have laws written on our hearts. And because we have this law written on our hearts, we can know God not with just our minds, but also with our hearts. God is no longer going to be sitting locked up in heaven, but will be knowable and accessible to us.]