"I will meet with you there above the mercy seat, between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the testimony; I will speak with you from there about all that I command you regarding the Israelites." Exodus 25:22 (CSB)
When I reflect on my almost 20 years as a believer, I know there are times when I seemed much more engaged with God than I have been lately.
Now, it feels like my attention span is the length of a succinct YouTube video. I've been far too easily distracted. Some days I don’t want to read the Bible, and I’ve gone periods without prayer that make me ashamed that I think I can be so independent. I've felt stuck in a season of spiritual dryness.
Have you ever felt like this?
It's like you’re in a spiritual desert, trudging through heavy sand. A wilderness where spiritual disciplines, which are meant to bring you closer to God, feel like warfare rather than joy. The discouraging thing is, the more we stay away from the constant nourishment of the Lord, the harder it is to hear His voice when He calls us out of our dry place.
But recently I came across a passage that felt like an oasis amid my desert. I heard God speak so clearly. This scripture reminded me of my only hope to meet with God and hear Him speak:
“I will meet with you there above the mercy seat, between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the testimony; I will speak with you from there about all that I command you regarding the Israelites” (Exodus 25:22, emphasis my own).
In Exodus, Moses wrote about the Israelites' experience in the desert. The Israelites, like us, were living in the in-between. They had been delivered from slavery, but they had not yet reached the promised land. While they were traveling from Mount Sinai to Canaan, God told them to build a tabernacle, where the “ark of the testimony” was kept.
The Ark housed the two tablets that had the law of God written on them. The law we, the sons and daughters of Adam, cannot keep. This perfect law condemns humankind and points to the holiness of our Creator. These holy commands I have often transgressed.
What put me in a state of awe is one of the items God instructed His people to place over the Ark of the Covenant, which was behind the veil in the Most Holy Place. God told them to lay a mercy seat over the Ark. This wasn’t an actual seat but a “mercy place” for atonement purposes.
It is God’s mercy that covers the penalty of the law and has placed us forever in God’s presence. God met with the Israelites through the mediator, the high priest, “above the mercy seat” (Exodus 25:22) through the cherubim of glory. (Hebrews 9:5)
It amazes me that God didn’t place a judgment seat above the Ark, to cover the place where the law was kept. It was a mercy seat that covered the law.
This mercy extended to His covenant people so He could be with them. The mercy seat was also a shadow pointing to our great High Priest, Jesus, through whom permanent mercy has come and covered a multitude of sins — but not before the judgment we deserved was placed upon our spotless Lamb.
Jesus took on a judgment seat so we can have access to His mercy seat. Jesus fulfilled the law for us through His unblemished life and extended mercy to us through His sacrificial death, and now we get to dwell with Him because of His resurrection and eternal reign.
Do you struggle to see your way out of this dry place?
Are you wondering if your sin will keep you from the presence of the most holy God?
There is mercy where God dwells. And today His dwelling is no longer in a tent made by hands — by the Spirit, He dwells within us right now if we have faith in Him.
Father, I thank You that You are with us today — despite how we feel or what we are going through — because of Your mercy extended through our great High Priest, Jesus. May we persevere to the end, no matter what comes in this wilderness, as we journey to heaven, our promised land. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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It’s tempting to quit and give up when everything is very hard, when disappointments are more common than victories. When you are constantly feeling like everything is too much, or like no one sees you, quitting seems like the best option. But if we believe what God says is true, we have to believe this world needs what we have to offer. If you find yourself tired of trying, we want to help you keep going. Download our newest free resource, “Overwhelmed, Overlooked and Over It: 5 Devotions for the Girl Who Feels Tempted To Quit.” These devotions will help you know God is holding you close when you feel burnt out and underappreciated.
Do you struggle to believe God is a loving Father? In Finding My Father, Blair Linne shares her personal story of growing up without a father at home, which reflects the experiences of millions. She weaves her personal story with thoughtful theological reflection, inviting readers to learn from God what “father” really means and to trust Him even if they feel their earthly fathers have let them down. Click here to learn more!
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Romans 12:1, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship.” (CSB)
Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (CSB)
How can reflecting on the Lord’s mercy help hush the voice of shame or critical self-talk and draw you near to God?
Who in your life is in need of mercy today, and how can you be a vessel to display it to them? Let us know in the comments.
© 2022 by Blair Linne. All rights reserved.
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