And the Lord stood beside him and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!” And he was afraid, and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”
“How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God.” Jacob’s exclamation is a declaration of the holiness of what is nothing more than a spot in the wilderness, a place to lay his head on some stones and sleep. He opens his heart and mouth to praise God.
Many of us can rattle off the lines in Psalm 118 that begin “this is the day the Lord has made.” Have we ever tried to apply it to a holy place? “This is the place the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!”
Jacob declares the awesomeness of God. Dude! Radical praise calls for radical language, but sometimes even that fails us. We can barely pull up the deep sighs Paul talks about in the face of the incredible beauty that is life in Christ
Friends laugh when I tell them my two favorite prayers. They are short, and so worked into my being that they allow me to often fill Paul’s instruction to “pray without ceasing.” The prayers are “Wow!” and “Thy will, not mine, be done.” They express my awareness of God’s love for me, and my declaration of my love for God.. Like Jacob, I see this place, this time, this life as awesome. This is the place of God, the time of God, the love of God. Wow!