Mamas and Grandmas are death on dirt, often to the point of putting little boys in danger.
When I was little, I went to church with Mamaw and Grandad Deloney. I’d take a bath and put on clean clothes.
But, in the car on the way to church, Mamaw would ask the question that makes every little boy tremble, “David, did you wash behind your ears?”
“Yes, mamaw.” She wouldn’t take my word for it though, and she would investigate. She always found something.
Note to mothers and grandmothers: little boys are very sensitive behind their ears and if you rub too hard you risk killing them.
I don’t think Mamaw was worrying about germs. I think she was afraid the other ladies at church would look behind my ears and say, “Would you look at that? What kind of Grandmother brings her grandson to church with all that dirt behind his ears?” She probably had a problem with pride.
I was very humble. I could care less as long as she left my ears alone.
Afraid of God’s Presence
Priests in the Old Testament times must have felt that way. Remember, we’re talking about, “Dare to come into God’s presence.” We’re learning from the Old Testament tabernacle.
Week one we discovered that we come through the gate, praising, thanking and loving God with joy.
The second week we passed the altar of sacrifice and compared it to Jesus’ cross. We stopped to think about what He did for us and the power of His sacrifice and his resurrection.
This week we’re talking about the laver (or the bronze basin). It was placed between the altar and the tent and the priests had to wash their hands and feet in it before they went into the tabernacle.
(Exodus 30:17-21, NIV) “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a bronze basin, with its bronze stand, for washing. Place it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it. Aaron and his sons are to wash their hands and feet with water from it. Whenever they enter the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water so that they will not die.”
They made the bronze basin—or you ready for it—from the mirrors of the serving women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Those days they didn’t have glass mirrors, so the highly polished brass or other metals showed them how good looking they were. And these ladies gave their mirrors to the Lord. (There’s a sermon in there somewhere).
God was a bit like Mamaw, “Wash behind your ears before you come in … or at least your hands and feet.”
The priest would wash his hands and feet in the basin and go serve. But, if he was like most of us, he’d probably look at his reflection in the water and on the polished metal. “Hmmm, my hair is sticking up in the back. Ah, there’s a bit of spinach on my teeth. Wow, my eyes are bloodshot.” Or …
“Lookin’ good today. Better looking than me you won’t find!”
They removed the impurities before they went into the house of God.
Here’s Our Wash Pan
“Whilst the Brazen Altar is a picture of our justification, the Brazen Laver is a picture of our sanctification…Daily we need to be washed by the water of the Word of God. Even though we are saved, as we go about life in this sinful world we pick up dust and dirt along the way. In order to fellowship with the Lord and come into His presence we need to be separated unto Him daily by the cleansing of the Word. The Laver shows us that whilst sin has been dealt with once for all at the cross, we need to come daily confessing our sins so that we may be cleansed from any defilement of the world.” (https://graceandtruth.me/)
I used to fear going into God’s presence. I loved the Lord, but I hesitated to get too close because I knew how imperfect I was. I was “pedaling as fast as I could,” but I usually had the sense that it wasn’t fast enough. How could God accept me when I had thought this, said that, done that, etc.
It’s always good to prepare yourself with God’s help, before you go into His presence. Look into His Word and compare your life to it. Let His Spirit search your heart. Listen to what He says. And when (not if, but when), He speaks about things that aren’t right in you, ask forgiveness and obey.
These words were written to Christians: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness … I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” (1 John 1:9; 2:1, NIV)
Just before He went to the Cross Jesus knelt and washed His men’s feet. “Un uhh,” Peter said. (Porter translation). “You’re not washing me. He was very humble vis-a-vis Jesus, though he hadn’t displayed a lot of that humility towards James and John.
The Lord told him that if He didn’t wash him, he had no part in Him. So humble Peter pipes up, “Then wash all of me.”
“Then one who has taken a bath only has to wash his feet,” the Lord answered.
We are saved but we want to get rid of that “nastiness from walking through life” before we go into before God.
Are you afraid of God’s presence? Just confess your sin, let Jesus cleanse you, and go on in. The Father is waiting.
“You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out God hates all the same people you do” – Anne Lamott