“There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.”
This is interesting. This is God talking to his people about how they can meet with him. He’s basically describing how through the Tabernacle, and we’ll see this at different points in Exodus and then into Leviticus, that book in the Bible, we see God prescribing the ways that people can meet with him, hear from him, receive mercy from him. He talks about I’ll meet with you from above the mercy seat. It’s a reminder to us that the only way we can meet with God is, number one, according to how God prescribes it and, two, by his mercy.
Don’t forget God is holy. He is perfect, righteous, just and sinners in his presence deserve to be cast out forever. That’s the picture of eternal punishment, hell that we see in scripture. Yet, God in his mercy has made a way. What he’s doing here in Exodus chapter 25 is making a way for sinners to be able to be in his presence by his mercy according to the way he prescribes.
Now, all of this depiction in the Old Testament is really a shadow of what’s to come in the New Testament in Christ. Even the construction of the Tabernacle and the way it’s all designed is intended to point us to our need for a full and final sacrifice in Jesus. What Jesus did when he went to the cross was he paid the price for sinners to be able to be in the presence of God. Jesus took in his sinlessness our sin upon himself as a sacrifice for us and open the way for you and I to come to the mercy seat of God and meet with him, follow this, according to the conditions God sets. No sinner can just prance into the presence of God, just walk up and start speaking to God like we deserve again to be separated from God. But this is the beauty of the whole Bible. It’s here in Exodus. It’s in the New Testament. In Christ, God has made a way for you and me as sinners to come to him and find mercy.
Let this reality as we hear about it in the Old Testament inform our perspective when we pray. Even right now, oh, God, we come to you on your terms. There is no way we could be in your presence right now, we could be speaking to you apart from your provision, apart from you providing the way through sending Jesus to die on the cross for us, and we are only in your presence right now. We’re only praying because of your mercy because your mercy is real. It’s reached down into our lives. You saved us from our sins through what Jesus did on the cross. We praise you for your mercy that makes meeting with you right now possible. We worship you. We praise you. We pray to you.
God, beyond this few minute podcast episode, help us to live and continue a prayer to you. Just like the author of Hebrew says, let us approach the throne of grace with confidence for there we find mercy to help us in our time of need. God, we need your mercy in so many ways. We praise you for the mercy you’ve poured out. We need your mercy in so many other ways and this or that facet of our life and this or that struggle we have. We plead for mercy for others. We intercede for your mercy so God make us men and women of prayer who are constantly coming before you, this seat of mercy in prayer and experiencing communion with you, experiencing mercy from you and crying out for mercy for others. Help us to pray in light of Exodus chapter 25. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.