Years ago, God used a friend to open my eyes to the story of Moses and the Burning Bush in an entirely new way. As Moses observed a strange sight and moved towards the bush which would not burn up, God invited Moses to take off his sandals for where he was standing was holy ground (Exodus 3). In the culture of the Hebrew people, known for their hospitality to strangers, taking off one's shoes was a sign of being welcomed home. God extends that same hospitality to Moses, calling him by name and essentially saying, "you are welcomed to be at home with me". Moses responds with reverence, fear and by hiding his face. What a picture of our own response to God's invitations!
Consider this story as you pray with Psalm 84. What is it like to find your home with God? God bids you, "come, you are welcome home with me".
Psalm 84 (NIV)
1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
2 My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.
5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
8 Hear my prayer, LORD God Almighty;
listen to me, God of Jacob.
9 Look on our shield, O God;
look with favor on your anointed one.
10 Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
12 LORD Almighty,
blessed is the one who trusts in you.
For Reflection and Prayer:
What word, a phrase, image, or feeling caught your attention as you listened? Bring it into your prayer.
Where or when do you feel most at home with God and with yourself? What do you notice? What draws you away from home with God?
Reflect on a season where God has led you into a desert like valley. How did God sustain you then? If you are in such a season now, how is God strengthening, refreshing and renewing you in it?
Do you ever feel like God withholds from you? Journal about it and bring it before God. How does God respond?