Peace with God can alone bring peace to an individual life. The peace of God alone is powerful enough to stop warring factions. God’s peace alone can enable us to live in peace with those who disagree with us or even hate us. Peace with God through Jesus Christ alone can indescribably guard our hearts and minds in the midst of these intersecting global crises. That peace and the way to obtain it are pictured for us in these descriptions of this little gold table in the Holy Place, just outside the Holy of Holies and in front of the ark of the covenant.
I. The Table Itself: Step 1—God’s purpose: peace and life
The first step to peace with God is realizing God has a purpose for you—he loves you and wants you to know peace and have eternal life. This fact is written all throughout scripture. Here are just two places: “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1) and “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The very existence of a table obviously intended for dining in the presence of God makes that point. Only friends sit down together for a pleasant meal.
II. The Table’s Location: Step 2—The Problem: our separation from God
The table represented separation, because it sat outside the Holy of Holies. If you do not know peace with God, the second step toward that relationship is to realize you have a big problem—you are separated from God by your sin. The problem of estrangement you are feeling is not merely emotional, it is real. Out of the sinful nature you were born with and by the ways you continue to disobey God’s commands you have declared yourself God’s enemy.
III. The Table’s Utensils: Step 3—God’s Bridge: the cross
The utensils, especially the cups were for ceremonial cleansing purposes, for libations. God is so determined to have a peaceful relationship, he has made a way for us to be reconciled through the cross of his beloved Son. The Bible says: “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5) and “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
IV. The Table’s Bread: Step 4—Our Response: receive Christ
Elsewhere the Bible explains the obvious function of the table was “for setting out the consecrated bread” (2 Ch. 29:18). We must trust and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and give up all further attempts to gain favor with God through our own merit. Peace with God can only be received.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- What did you learn about the function and meaning of the table in this passage?
- Which of the four steps to peace with God resonated with you most? Why?
- What is one way you were motivated to respond by this passage/sermon?
For Further Study: For more on the four steps to peace with God, see Billy Graham, Peace with God.