Between Bethel and Ai

“The measure of the worth of our public activity for God is the private profound communion we have with Him.” ~~Oswald Chambers


“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.”~~George MacDonald

Today’s word of the day, from, is unputdownable. No, really. I swear I am not making this up. Click on the link. It means, most commonly in reference to a book, “so interesting or suspenseful as to compel reading.”

Today is Cuddle Up Day. I wonder if my boss would accept that as a reason for not coming to work.

Nothing much happening around here, this morning. I stayed about an hour late, last night, we made chili for dinner, watched the season premier of Downton Abbey, and went to bed. Always on the lookout for great lines from Maggie Smith’s character, she did not disappoint. “Does it ever get cold on the moral high ground?” the Dowager Countess asked Mrs. Crawley. It seems that they will be engaging in the epic battle to end all epic battles, this season, which is fitting, I suppose, since it is the final season. I will really miss her!

We have plans to get back to the gym, this evening, after work.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath.
Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O LORD—how long?

Turn, O LORD, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise?
I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.
My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes.
Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.
The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer.
All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.

Psalm 6

What is causing the intense suffering and fear that the psalmist is experiencing, here? There is no answer to that question, and it truly isn’t important. What is important is “the experience with God in prayer that moves from hopeless depression to assured acceptance.” That is significant.

“You, O Christ, who were despised and rejected by men, know how I feel when, by fault or failure, I am cast into lonely pits of depression. Draw me up from such despair on the thin yet cable-strong rope of prayer to stand on ‘this great roundabout–the world’ and praise you (William Cowper, ‘The Jackdaw’). Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Today’s reading is “Worship.”

From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD.
Genesis 12:8

“Worship is giving God the best that He has given you.” We cannot hoard what God has given us, it must be given back to him as “a love gift.” Chambers goes so far as to suggest that we should offer whatever blessing God has given us back to him “in a deliberate act of worship,” taking time to meditate before him first. Consider the manna that God gave Israel as they wandered in the wilderness. If hoarded, it became useless, even foul.

In Abraham’s life, “Bethel is the symbol of communion with God; Ai is the symbol of the world. Abraham pitched his tent between the two.” Now, Chambers makes a statement that, if pondered properly, actually makes profound sense. “The measure of the worth of our public activity for God is the private profound communion we have with Him.” Think about that. We must be firmly planted between our Bethel and our Ai. The work we do in whatever acts as our Ai can only be as good as the private communion with God that we experience in our Bethel.

We must also never be in a hurry. “There is always plenty of time to worship God.” We can always find time to be quiet before God, no matter how noisy the world around us may be. More importantly, our spiritual life is not divided, as some might believe, between worship, waiting, and work. The three must go together.

Father, help me to pitch my tent between Bethel and Ai. May my private communion with you be such that it fuels my work in the world. I cannot be successful in the world without knowing you and walking with you. I also pray that you help me find those quiet moments with you throughout my noisy, active day. This will help to calm the frustrations that occur during the day. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth. Help me to abide in you, as you abide in me.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

2 thoughts on “Between Bethel and Ai

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