I continue along the path I started a month ago, reading through Genesis sequentially and stopping when something strikes me as needing greater attention. This week I got as far as the 28th chapter of Genesis. (Yep, it's going to take years at this rate to make it all the way through the Bible, but then, I'm in no hurry. The journey is more important than the destination, as I blogged in an earlier post.)
Reading: Genesis 28:16
Meditation: As I meandered through Genesis, a few things blipped on my radar screen momentarily: where we get government taxes (Joseph required all to give back 1/5 of the produce to the Pharaoh), where we get tithing (Jacob/Israel promised God 1/10 of all he owned and acquired), how often angels appeared to people in those days (probably today, too, a topic of some interest to me, considering that I just made a series of posts about angels), and how often barren women, especially quite old ones, were blessed with children.
What truly jumped out at me, though, was verse 16 in chapter 28: "And Jacob awakened out of his sleep, and he said: 'Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.'" I wonder how many times God is in a place where we are and we know it not. Because we are too busy tending to matters at hand, whatever they may be. Because we are too focused on ourselves. Because we are tired. Because we are not alone. Because we just don't think that way. And then I recall how Doah, in visiting the old mission town where I live for the first time, said to me quite simply in his limited, mentally-challenged language, "God here," and nodded his head in great satisfaction. He knew. In his great limitation of mental faculty, he knew. In his naivete, he knew. He knew what people of much greater intellectual prowess do not know. It causes one to stop and wonder, doesn't it?
And that is far as I can go with you on this Monday morning. I must retire to prayer to ask God for enlightenment to know when I am in His presence, to express my regret for any opportunities to be with Him that I missed, to give thanks for His willingness to be with me (with us all), to offer praise to a God who cares enough about us to be present to us, and to tell Him how I revel in His presence now that the shock I felt the first time I knew He was present with me has turned to joy. (I know God knows all of that since He knows me better than I know myself, but I still like to tell Him -- the telling may be more for me than for Him, but I suspect that He does not mind.)
After that, I will spend some time in contemplation with this wonderful God who came after me, brought me into His flock, and has never abandoned me.
I will now leave you to your prayer and contemplation.
If you pick this up as a weekly devotional activity, please share with me and others your own thoughts about the message of Genesis 28:16.
Have a good day and a good week!