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Our High Priest is easily touched with the feeling of our infirmities, because he was tested in every area just as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, we can boldly approach God with our needs, receiving mercy and unmerited favor. — Hebrews 4:15–16
On the FrankBall.org website, we have an interesting discussion question in relation to those two verses in Hebrews: How are we helped by knowing that God understands us?
God knows us better than we know ourselves.
As a kid, I was told I was smart, and maybe I was—for my age, that is. I knew what I wanted. My dad knew what I needed, so he often didn’t give me what I wanted. He always gave me something better, which was sometimes to say no.
Twenty years later, I had learned so much that I was overwhelmed by how much I didn’t know. What I wanted more than anything was to hear and follow the Lord. Since my dad had the same passion, what I wanted became what he wanted.
Sometimes we shared insights about God for hours that seemed like minutes. I saw on his bookshelf a worn-out copy of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. “I need to buy that book,” I said. He insisted that I take his copy and wouldn’t take no for an answer.
If that was true for my father who loved me, how much more must our heavenly Father want what’s best for me.
God has unlimited resources.
Daddy could only give me a book from his shelf. He couldn’t give me what he didn’t have. I wonder, if he had been a rich man, if he would have spoiled me by giving me the things I wanted instead of the guidance that I needed.
God and my father had one thing in common: their knowledge, love, and gifts were limited by what they had. Since God created and owns all things, he must use a fabulous amount of wisdom and restraint to keep from spoiling his kids.
If that’s true, then the only way I can get everything I want is to only want what he wants.
I’m convinced that what he wants has to be the best for me, so I’m working hard to let go and accept his provision.
In ancient times, boldness could be fatal.
After I heard a radio sermon saying we should “come boldly to God’s throne,” I wondered what those words really meant.
Today, a janitor might approach the company president with a need, but two thousand years ago, peasants did only what they were told. They were shunned by the upper class and were never allowed to invite themselves to see the king.
In the reign of Xerxes, not even the queen could approach the king uninvited. When the Jews were about to be destroyed, Esther prayed and fasted from food and water for three days before risking her life to see the king (Esther 4:16).
Being bold doesn’t mean we get what we want.
“Coming boldly before the throne” doesn’t mean I can stake my claim and get what I want. Some people believe that, but it’s dangerous to be given what God doesn’t want. Just ask Balaam, who was given permission to go but made God angry when he went and faced an angel ready to kill him (Numbers 22:20–23).
I heard one preacher say, “Come to God with his Word,” as if our interpretation of Scripture can be used as leverage to get what we want. I can’t go that direction, which explains why most of my prayer time is spent asking what God wants.
We get to come boldly before God to find out what he wants.
When I saw a tool in my dad’s shed, I realized how that would help my work outside, keeping the lawn groomed. That tool immediately became mine. He insisted.
Because I have a heavenly Father who has boundless love for me, whose resources never run out, I can freely express my desires. And after that, I can choose to be delighted with whatever his response is, whether it is yes, no, or maybe later.