Last year I had the privilege of traveling to Israel. To walk the land that the LORD chose, to stand in places where Jesus stood, to listen to teachings in places where Jesus taught. The most profound place I stood was on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The place where Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac. The place where the temple was built and will someday be built again. The place where Jews believed the Spirit of God resides.
We stood below a set of steps that led to the gate of the temple. Our Israeli tour guide had us stand and look at the steps before we walked on them. We noticed they were different sizes, different lengths, and different distances from one another. He asked if we knew why they were like that. And then he told us, “These steps are meant to keep you from rushing and quickly approaching God. You are to never hurry into the presence of God.”
The Jews had purposely set up steps to slow themselves into the presence of God – to remember whom they were approaching, and to approach in awe and reverence, not with hurriedness in their hearts.
You are to never hurry into the presence of God.
Now flash forward a couple thousand years and put yourself in America.
It’s Sunday. Church day. Today, I slept in a little. Woke up, laid in bed, checked Facebook & Instagram. Got ready, and rushed out the door. I was impatient at the stoplights, worried about getting there on time and having a parking space, and was late to church. And I stood in the back, trying to slow my heart, and I thought about the steps in Israel. I thought about my hurried heart, and the way I was approaching God, and wished I had the steps, literally and figuratively, to slow me down.
If the Gospel – that Christ died so I may live – is truly Good News, then why am I so hurried to rest in that? Why am I rushing so quickly in and out of His presence, rather than taking time to enter in slowly, reverently, and gratefully?
How often do we approach God like that? How often does your time with the LORD look like this? Hurried? Rushed? A few minutes here and there?
Understanding the Good News should make us long to be with the Good Shepherd. As I hurry through my day, I want to remember to slow down. I want to remember that the Sovereign God, the Creator and Sustainer of life, the Redeemer & Defender of my soul, has invited me to dwell in His presence.
Understanding the Good News should make us long to be with the Good Shepherd.
He reached down from on High to rescue me from a life of sin and to deliver me from the domain of darkness into His marvelous light. I want that to be at the forefront of my mind. I want that to be preparing my heart as I enter into worship, not the busyness of the day, the clutter of social media, or the hurry sickness I suffer from. I want the Gospel to be at the core of my heart, and I want to live in gratitude and reverence because of it.
I want the steps outside of the temple to be etched inside of my heart.
How do you slow your heart to prepare to spend time with the LORD?
- Consider showing up to church 10 minutes early
- Set-aside a time each day, even if it’s just 2 minutes, to pray. Be intentional and protect that time.
- Redeem moments during the day. When driving, turn off the radio and put down the phone to pause and reflect on the LORD. When doing laundry, remember how Jesus makes us clean. When cooking dinner, remember how the LORD provides.
- Download a Bible app. Before getting out of bed or grabbing your phone to check social media, read a proverb. There are 31 proverbs, nearly one for each day.
Discover which steps work best in your life work, and implement them daily to remind you to approach the Lord in awe and reverence.