“Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations.” – Psalm 90:1
As I read this week’s lectionary texts, a common word/theme keeps jumping at me: place.
Specifically, the contrast between God’s place and our place. These texts paint the picture of our simultaneous closeness to and separation from the Most High. Our place is with God, and yet is apart from God — and yet is still with God!
Moses, who was unlike any other prophet and “whom the LORD knew face to face” still wasn’t allowed to cross over to the land given to Abraham’s descendants. His place was the top of Pisgah, not west of the Jordan. That place was for Joshua.
Paul, Silas, and Timothy acknowledged their place as preachers of the gospel. It was not their place to seek praise, or gain, though that might have been afforded to them without anyone batting and eye. They were firm in where they stood.
Jesus put a young Pharisee and his company in their place with a little messianic theology. Perhaps they weren’t as learned as they thought they were!
I sense this week’s readings are inviting us to consider anew that God’s thoughts and ways are so very far from ours. We are reminded in the Psalm that we come from dust and return back to that. We are reminded that “a thousand years in [God’s] sight are like yesterday when it is past.” And yet, as the psalm says, the Lord has been our dwelling place in all generations. Our place is not God’s place, and yet our place is in God.
Consider the ways in which we’ve tried to assume a place that is not reserved for us. How have we unknowingly tried to stand in God’s place rather than standing in God — in God’s shelter, provision, love, and plan?