In the beginning of Leviticus 16, God makes it clear to Aaron that he is not free to enter “the holy place inside the veil” whenever he likes, “or he will die”. God gives instructions as to how Aaron should enter – bringing the appropriate animal offerings, wearing the appropriate “holy garments”, and having washed himself clean. Yes, even the high priest wasn’t free to just walk into the holy place of God’s presence.
God is holy and awesome and not to be messed with – that’s a message that comes out loud and clear throughout the pages of Leviticus (and plenty other places in the Bible too).
And this makes me so grateful – so grateful for the sacrifice of Jesus, through whom I am free to come before God any time. “Aaron shall enter the holy place with this: with a bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. He shall put on the holy linen tunic, and the linen undergarments shall be next to his body, and he shall be girded with the linen sash and attired with the linen turban (these are holy garments)… he shall bathe his body in water and put them on.”(Lev.16:3-4) But I, living under the promised new covenant, enter the presence of God with the Messiah Jesus for a sin offering, wearing the holy garments that God himself has placed on me, having been washed clean by God himself.
And the Spirit of God teaches me to call him Abba – my father, my dad. My father in heaven invites me to come and sit on his lap and tell him how my day has been, to share my feelings with him, offload my worries and my pain. And at the same time, he remains holy and awesome and not to be messed with, so I imagine myself having a piggyback ride on my big and strong dad’s shoulders, feeling secure not because of anything about me but because of everything I know about him.