How to enter into God’s presence

God is especially receptive to those who are near His presence

Imagine the President of the United States entering the White House. Outside there are throngs of protestors carrying big banners and chanting their demands. The President drives in, probably not even stopping to listen or to look at those banners in detail. With their loud demands, the protestors failed to get his attention.

Once the President enters his private office, he is surrounded by his group of advisers. He listens attentively to their advice because they are part of his inner group. They are not outsiders like the protestors.

When we approach our Lord and King, we can be like the protestors shouting our demands from the outside OR we can enter into His inner courts and be noticed by Him.

In the book of Esther, we read that Haman, the evil adviser of the King, wanted to plot against the Jews. When Modecai, the cousin of Esther and also a Jew, learned about the plot, he wept bitter in the streets but his cries did not reach the King. It did not reach the King because he was not allowed to enter the King’s gate.

(Est 4:1-2 NIV)  When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. {2} But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it.

Contrast this to what Esther could accomplish because she got into the King’s inner court.

(Est 5:1-3 NIV)  On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. {2} When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter. {3} Then the king asked, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.”

With praise and thanksgiving

Very often we start of our daily time with God with a long list of requests. We think it is more time efficient this way. But we could be shouting at the outer court. Why not enter into God’s inner court first? We do that by first approaching Him with worship.

(Psa 100:4 NIV)  Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

Thanksgiving is the lowest form of worship. It is only based on what someone has done for you. We don’t know what God has done behind the scene. He could have protected us from some virus infection. He could have kept us from a car accident.

Praise is a higher level and is based on who God is. We can praise God for who He is despite the circumstance we are in. We can praise God for being our Healer even when we are having a headache.

Modecai could not get past the King’s gates because he was in sackcloth and ashes. He was dirty and probably did not smell good. Esther spent 12 months indulging in beauty treatments and fragrances before she entered the King’s courts.

(Est 2:12 NIV)  Before a girl’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics.

It is interesting that in the Bible fragrances are also associated with worship and honor.

When the wise men came to baby Jesus to honor Him, they brought gifts, which include fragrances.

(Mat 2:11 NIV)  On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.

(John 12:3 NIV)  Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

With Mary wanted to worship the Lord Jesus, she poured expensive perfume on His feet and wiped it with her hair.

We need to enter into the Lord’s presence with the sweet fragrance of worship.

Through righteousness living

Worship alone will not get us into the Lord’s presence if we are not living our lives right before God. The Holy God cannot tolerate the presence of sin.

Just like the King could not admit Modecai into his courts because of his filthy clothes, we cannot enter into God’s presence with a filthy life. The Bible uses filth to describe the sinful condition of people.

(Prov 30:12 KJV)  There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.

A person who gets close to God is one whose walk is righteousness.

(Psa 15:1-2 NIV)  LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? {2} He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart.

That does not mean that we have to be sinless in order to enter into fellowship with Him in His inner courts. It does mean that we have to live our lives with the aim of pleasing Him, confessing our sins regularly before Him.

(1 John 1:7-9 NIV)  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin… {9} If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.