Nothing in My Hand I Bring (Exodus 26:34) - Radical

Nothing in My Hand I Bring (Exodus 26:34)

“You shall put the mercy seat on the arc of the testimony in the most holy place.”
– Exodus 26:34

This Verse comes in the middle of this description of the construction of the tabernacle and how it’s to be organized and at the center of the tabernacle, the innermost part, is the most holy place, symbolic of the place where God and his holiness is dwelling among his people and right in the middle of the most holy place is where we find the mercy seat.

Exodus 26:34 Reminds Us the Only Way to God Is Through Mercy

So get the picture, the only way to dwell with God, to be in the most holy presence of God, the only way for sinners to be there is through mercy. Through mercy. Like we can’t be there based on our own merit. There is no merit that gets a sinner into the throne room of God, into the most holy place. The only way there is mercy. Mercy from God.

This Verse Reminds Us that Mercy Can’t Be earned

We cannot earn mercy, we cannot deserved it. It’s a gift from him, and this is the message of the gospel, in the whole of scripture, that we have been invited into the most holy place, that access has been granted to you and to me. Like we’re about to pray. That is not because of any merit in us. That is only because of mercy from God because he in his grace has invited us and made it possible for us to be in his presence because of the blood of Jesus, because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for our sins. He was sinless, he paid the price for our sins so that we could come based on mercy, based on his merit. He has merit to be there, we don’t, and so we hide in his merit. We trust in his merit.

Access has been granted to us by the mercy of God to come to Him. He has made a way for us to be accepted in His sight.

So when the day comes when you or I take our last breath and we stand before God and he says, “Why should I let you into heaven? Why should you, a sinner, come into heaven?” What will we say? What will you say, what will I say? Well, there’s an old song that says, “Nothing in my hands I bring simply to the cross I cling.” In other words, the answer is I have nothing, I have no merit to come into the presence of God for all of eternity, no merit. Only mercy. I’m trusting totally in the mercy of another. I’m trusting in the mercy of Jesus and this indeed makes access to God and his holiness possible, not just in heaven but right now in prayer.

Exodus 26:34 Leads Us to Praise God

So we pray, we come before you, oh God, right now, and we’re all in the same place. We have sinned in different ways, it looks different in our lives, but there’s none of us who are praying right now who are praying because of any merit in us. So, we come to you solely based on the mercy of Jesus and we praise you. We praise you for this privilege. And we praise you for communion with you, the most holy God, right now, that we’re in your presence, that you are hearing us. That after this, we can pray for all kinds of things, ask for all kind of help, intercede for all kinds of needs and know that you hear us and you promise to answer us according to your word. What a privilege you’ve given us in prayer.

This Verse Leads Us to Thank God For His Mercy

Thank you God. Thank you for communion with you. And thank you for the privilege of knowing you. We love enjoying you and walking with you and the promise of eternity with you. We praise you that we don’t even have to fear death because we know that no matter what we have done, our entrance into heaven will not be based on our merit, it will be based solely on your mercy in Jesus. Nothing in our hands we will bring, simply to the cross we will cling. We praise you for your mercy, that makes access to you, communion with you, eternal life with you possible. We praise you Jesus, for making this possible. In your name we pray. Like no other way. In your name, we pray. Amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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