Ancient subjects of kings did not presume to come before him, unless they were summoned. This was true even of Esther, the wife of a king. When her people, the Jews, were in danger of being exterminated, Esther’s uncle tried to convince her to take this matter before the king. Her response was, “All the king’s servants, and the people…do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden scepter, that he may live: but I have not been called to come into the king…” (Esther 4:11).
The nation of Israel had an even graver fear of coming before the Lord. They had witnessed His power and glory. When given the Ten Commandments, “…the people saw the thunderings, and the lightenings, and…the mountain smoking…they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear, but let not God speak with us, lest we die…And Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was” (Exodus 20:18-21). They knew they were sinful, unworthy to be in the presence of their holy God, and that He could smite them with death in an instant. Therefore, they were extremely hesitant to come before the Lord even in worship. It is with this background that the writer of Hebrews tells his fellow Jews about their permanent “high priest,” the Lord Jesus Christ, who has “passed into the heavens” (Hebrews 4:14), who “…ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). It is with this in mind that they were given the invitation: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Because of Christ, they could now come before the presence of God in prayer in the bold confidence they would find divine mercy and help in all areas of life. What a contrast, what a privilege, and what an encouragement.
While the above verses were written to Jews still under the Law of Moses, the same principle is true for us today under grace. We too “…have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him” (Ephesians 3:12). Don’t fear taking your needs to the Lord, nor deprive yourself of His help. Take advantage of prayer constantly!
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