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Longing to Come Near

Read: Job 9:1-11; Job 9:32-35

A few weeks ago, I talked with my best high school friend who now lives in South Carolina. It was so good to hear her voice and know that she and her family are well.

The most difficult circumstance she is facing is common to many at this time. Even though her grandchildren and her daughter are temporarily living in a camper on my friend's property while Dad is stationed overseas, she can't come close to hug and play with them. What's more, due to her asthma and allergies, my friend can't even go outdoors to enjoy the precious little ones at a safe distance because the pollen will make her breathing too difficult. She said she almost cried when they looked longingly through the window at Nana, not really able to understand that there is nothing she would love more than scooping them up and holding them close, but she can't make it happen now. Oh, what joy we will have when we can once again, come close to each other.

Job faced his own desire to come close to Someone. No, it wasn't another human being even though he dealt with the harsh words of his friends who accused him of secret sin and questioned his motives over and over again. His greatest longing as expressed in Job 9 was the desire to come close to God, but he didn't know how this could ever happen. In Job 9:1-11, Job spoke of the incredible power of God and his own smallness. How could a mere man be in right standing with Creator God? God's wisdom would leave his puny arguments in the dust and Job with no answers. In Job 9:32-35 Job got to the heart of the matter. He longed for a mediator. Who could understand both God and man? He knew of no one Who could do that. How blessed we are to know that Job's heart's cry has been answered by the Only Mediator, Jesus, 1 Timothy 2:5-6. Let's look briefly at why we, along with Job need a mediator and how Jesus so wondrously met that need.

Throughout the Old Testament, from Genesis to Malachi, one theme is repeated over and over again. God is holy. He is set apart from us. Moses was told that he couldn't see the Lord and live. Isaiah saw a vision of the holiness of God and he saw his own sinfulness, Isaiah 6:1-8. Because man's sin kept him far from God, the Holy One gave the children of Israel a way to approach Him through animal sacrifice. Yet, even with this system, only one man had the honor of being High Priest, and that man could only approach God once a year on behalf of all the people. At that time, called the Day of Atonement, their sins were covered for another year. Yet in addition to this special day, sacrifices in the morning and in the evening needed to be offered by the priests. Their work was never finished, and no animal sacrifice could ever cleanse a man and take away his sin; so, the sacrifices had to be made year after year. We needed a mediator, One Who would offer the sacrifice that could cleanse us once and for all from our sins. He would have to be sinless, a perfect and undefiled High Priest. Hundreds and hundreds of years passed without the appearance of such a Mediator. That is, until God became flesh and lived on earth with us.

When Jesus walked on the earth, John 14:6, the temple housed the special place where the High Priest approached God. What a beautiful building it was. Yet, the Holy of Holies was set apart with a veil that was 60 feet high and 4 inches thick. Not only could no other person but the High Priest go into that Most Holy Place, there were barriers outside the temple that set apart special courts for the priests, the men and the women and gentiles. Barriers between the presence of God and human beings. Reminders that the mediator between God and man had not yet made His presence known. Then it happened on the day we call Good Friday. John tells us of the magnificent victorious statement of Jesus, John 19:30. The cry of victory rang out that "It Is Finished." The work of salvation was complete because of the Mediator's sacrifice. That's when God showed with a visible sign what truly had occurred. That heavy veil tore from top to bottom, Matthew 27:51, opening the Holy of Holies to us all. No longer would a veil or a special court be between God and man. Because God became man, and on the cross in a way we can't understand became sin, 2 Corinthians 5:21, we can freely approach God, Hebrews 4:14-16.

Imagine that. The One Job cried out for, rose on Easter, having been victorious over sin and death. What a Mediator. Even now, Romans 8:34 and Hebrews 7:25 say that He is doing just what Job desired. He is interceding on our behalf. In 1 John 2:1, the Holy One is called our Advocate, One Who speaks on our behalf. But there's even more. A day is coming when we will live with God. Revelation 21:3 declares that we will dwell with Him in His kingdom. No barriers between us! We will experience the fullness of being His children, 1 John 3:1-3.

Praise God! The One Who came close to save us will remain close to us for all eternity.

Happy Easter! He is risen!

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