Scripture Reading: Exodus 30:17-38
Today I’d like to talk about why we sometimes aren’t able to fully come into worship. We want to worship God, but we’re held back by something.
Exodus 30 gives us a clue about one of the things that can hold us back―and how to get past it. There was something that Aaron and his sons were to do every time they came into the place of worship, and something that would happen if they didn’t:
“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Make a bronze basin, with its bronze stand, for washing. Place it between the Tent of Meeting and the altar, and put water in it. Aaron and his sons are to wash their hands and feet with water from it. Whenever they enter the Tent of Meeting, they shall wash with water so that they will not die’ ” (Exodus 30:18-20a).
They were to wash their hands and feet in water from a bronze basin whenever they entered the place of worship. If they didn’t, they’d die! It seems like God was pretty serious about getting clean before coming into His presence!
Sometimes we get pretty lax about coming into the presence of God. I know I do. I love to be able to come to God Just As I Am, like the famous song that’s sung at Billy Graham crusades. But this passage is a reminder to me that if I’m ever finding it hard to fully enter into worship, it would be good to look and see if there’s anything in my life that might need cleansing―not physically with water, but inwardly in my heart or life.
I’ve had guys share with me that they’re struggling in a relationship with their wife. I’ll sometimes ask them if there’s anything they haven’t told their wife, anything that they might have done to sin against her. Oftentimes, they’ll say, “Yes.” It’s no surprise then that they find their relationship with their wife has cooled off. Who wants to be around someone else when they’ve sinned against them and haven’t confessed it?
One man told me he was struggling with intimacy with his wife. Then he also told me he was struggling with homosexual pornography. I asked him if he had ever talked to his wife about this struggle. “Of course not!” he answered, “it would hurt her too much if I told her.”
I told him, “Buddy, it’s hurting her too much now, every day, and it’s playing out in every part of your relationship with her. It’s not going to hurt her more by telling her, it’s going to finally help you, and her, start to get the healing you both need.” I’m fully aware that there are better and worse times for confessing these things, and there are better and worse ways to communicate the truth. But ultimately, it is the truth that will set us free.
It’s similar in our relationships with God. Sometimes we have sin in our lives, sins against Him, and we don’t really feel like spending time with Him. We don’t feel like worshiping Him. But if we would confess our sins to God, and come clean to Him, we’d be much more eager to come into His presence.
Confession is critical, especially to God. It shows God, or the other person, that you really do care about your relationship with them. Rather than driving them away, it usually draws them closer to you.
If there’s anything on your heart that you want to confess to God, maybe you’d like to take some time right now to get things right with Him again. It might only take 30 seconds after you finish reading this note to just talk to Him and say, “I’m sorry for what I’ve done. I pray that You’d forgive me.” It might take a few hours or days. But whatever it takes, do it. Come clean. The cleansing you’ll feel afterwards can make the worship you experience later all the more sweet.
And here’s an encouraging promise from God’s Word:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:19).
Want to learn more? You can watch a podcast with more discussion about this topic below.