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All of us have relationships; some of them close, some of them not so close. Over the years, some of these relationships can grow stronger but some can become distant, some strained and, in some cases, can dissolve entirely. Sometimes its hard to discern if there is proper justification for these waning relationships. There can be different, even complicated reasons and the whys and hows can be hard to unravel. The bottom line is that not all of our once-close relationships endure. 

For the believer, some of our relationships that grow distant or break apart can be because of our walk and where the Father is leading us. That’s not to say that these other people aren’t following the Father, it’s just that sometimes He doesn’t lead us down the same path; sometimes He leads us in different directions. One of the saddest parts about following God is that, sometimes, you have to leave people behind. 

In this vein, consider the difference between those who have a courtyard experience and those who want to go beyond the altar, beyond the Holy Place and into the Most Holy Place. If questioned, all believers would testify of a desire to be in the presence of the Holy One but, in reality, how many of us are truly willing to pay the price to attain that kind of intimacy with the Creator? In other words, saying you want that and actually doing what is necessary to realize it are two different things. To press beyond the Holy Place and enter into the presence of the Holy One means that we must be willing to die completely to ourselves and to others. The Psalmist wrote:

“Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:3-4)

If we’re going to have a pure heart, then all of those evil inclinations within it have to be purged. If we truly are going to stand in His Holy Place, carnal thoughts and deeds have to die and be removed from our lives. To enjoy this kind of intimacy with the Almighty might also require that we leave other relationships behind. 

Many worshipers are willing to congregate in the courtyard and be content with that experience. That’s not to say that they don’t know the Lord and it’s not to say that they don’t worship Him. It’s just to say that, for whatever reason, they want to stay right there. In the Temple of old, it was in the courtyard where most of the people assembled. Might it be that, today, for completely different reasons, that is where most believers are content to be. In other words, only a remnant of people are willing to go beyond the veil and humble themselves in the presence of the Almighty. Only a remnant are willing to die to the point that they would be gladly received by God into the Most Holy Place. 

If we truly are going to pursue Him, and if we are truly going to be led by His Spirit, then we are going to be challenged to die to ourselves so that we can be more like Him. That is the only method that allows us to be more intimate with Him. If your desire is to have that kind of relationship with Him then know this: relationships with others will become more strained. There are relationships that you have today that you won’t have tomorrow. You’ll scratch your head and wonder what happened. Might it be that its because you’re moving past the courtyard and into the Presence of the Most Hight? If we’re going to follow God, sometimes we have to leave people behind. 

Shalom.

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