Thursday, May 11, 2017

this dreadful desire


And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
Fear is a very common response throughout the Bible, whenever a mortal sees beyond the veil to the Immortal. 
and I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days   
then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone...for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts 
then...I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days
Interestingly, none of these were God revealing Himself in a dream to a person to explain the blessings He had in store for them. What exactly did God tell Jacob?
I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; 
And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 

And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.
No judgment. Not even any requirements. Simply a statement of blessing. Yet Jacob was afraid. Not afraid enough change that much...and not afraid to promise God more than this:
If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
He was not quite ready to serve this God of dreams and promises, not ready to accept anything other than stuff from this God {he doesn't mention "in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed"}, but despite his fear, he is ready to make a promise in return. Maybe not much of a start, but a start. And what becomes a refrain throughout the rest of the Scriptures? What is the name that this God uses to identify Himself?  
I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
So much to come from such a half-hearted start. But The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and though it was not until much later that Jacob was willing to claim that blessing and that with-ness (Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me...) not until much later that he reached the child-like state of crying out I will not let thee go, except thou bless me, ready to claim this God as His, ready to say I have seen God face to face...the beginning was here, where he was afraid and called God's house dreadful. 

I would rather say with David
One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.
yet I want to maintain a child-sense of wonder and awe at the greatness, the power, the incredible majesty of this God who has revealed Himself to me, and exactly what it means to behold His beauty, to ask of Him, and to receive His blessings. To abandon myself to fearing Him while abandoning all other fears.

To dwell in His house forever...dreadful though it may be...this is my desire.

the winter view from the Catholic hospital where
I've done most rotations this year






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