How to Approach God
Exodus 20:22-26 – 22 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘You have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. 23 You shall not make anything to be with Me—gods of silver or gods of gold you shall not make for yourselves. 24 An altar of earth you shall make for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I record My name I will come to you, and I will bless you. 25 And if you make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it. 26 Nor shall you go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed on it.’
After Adam and Eve sinned against God it altered the way we approach God. To approach God we need to do it His way.
Instructions how we should approach God based on Exodus 20:22-26:-
1. Acknowledge God is your only God – (Exodus 20:22-23)
When we approach God to worship we must not worship other gods (Exodus 20:3-4). For example in marriage when you say ‘yes’ to your spouse you are also saying ‘no’ to all others. This is the same in water baptism you are asked to forsake all other gods and only serve Jesus. Matthew 6:24 – “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” When we are born again we need to make up our mind who will we serve. Is He your God and only Him will you serve?
2. Make an altar according to God’s pattern – (Exodus 20:25)
Altar means high or elevated place, a place for sacrifice. God wanted the Israelites to approach Him in the right way, God’s way. The Israelites were instructed to build an altar of earth or stone. If the altar is made of stone it should be untouched and unaltered. The stone should not be carved by human hands. People will often mason the stone to make it into something that is beautiful for God but this is the imagination of our heart and not according to God’s way. God was specific in his instruction that the altar should be made of earth or stone that is natural. This is because God wants man to come to worship Him through His way not through man’s imagination. Man thinks there are many ways to God either through good works or other religions, but God said there is only one way to Him through His son Jesus Christ (John 14:6). God gave Moses the instructions how to make the altar (the tabernacle) according to His heavenly pattern (Exodus 25:8-9). When we approach God it should be through His pattern not through the imagination of our heart.
3. Approach God in the right place – (Exodus 20:24)
When we bring our sacrifices to God, we need to bring it to the right place.The right place is where God calls His name to be remembered. (Genesis 22:1-2) God tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son on a mountain in Jerusalem. He gave Abraham instruction of where this sacrifice was to take place. In Abraham’s time before the Lord Jesus, God had chose Jerusalem as the place for His temple. God gave King David the pattern of how to build the temple but God said it was not to be built by King David but by his son King Solomon (1 Chronicles 28:11,12,19). 1 Kings 5:5 – King Solomon was to build a temple to God according to God’s instruction.
God chose Jerusalem to be the place where He put His name. It was the same place where Abraham was to sacrifice his son Isaac, it was the same place where God sacrificed His only son Jesus Christ to save the world’s sinners. God spared Isaac on the mountain of Moriah, but He did not spare His one son Jesus Christ.
We as New Testament believers are the temple of God, the Holy Spirit lives in us. We can approach God and offer up spiritual sacrifices of praise and worship wherever we are. When we come together as a church to worship we are also the universal temple of God. God has put His seal on us and the church. Where His name is honoured blessings go forth to you from that place.
4. Approach God with the right attitude – (Exodus 20:26)
Nakedness speaks of sin. You can’t approach God if you have sin in your heart. Before Adam and Eve disobeyed God they were covered with light, the glory of God. When Adam and Eve sinned they discovered they were naked and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings (Genesis 3:7).
(Matthew 5:23-24) If there is any sin within us we must repent of our sin and be reconciled first with our brothers before we approach God. (1 Corinthians 11:27,28,31) When we partake of holy communion we are eating judgment so it is important to examine ourselves that our life is right before we approach the table of the Lord to have fellowship with Him. Sin separates man from God therefore if there is any sin within us we need to repent of it before we approach God or else our sin or nakedness is exposed to God.
This is a prayer I often say – Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
God is holy. Approach this holy God in the right way. Trust in Him. When we worship God in the place where He puts His name blessings come forth from that place.