I love reading because I learn so much. Both things that are written on the page, and things that the Lord shows me through the written words.
I have been reading a series of books by Angela Hunt, Stories from Ancient Egypt, about Joseph (Dreamers), his brothers (Brothers) and his sons (Journey). (They are excellent books, and if you like historical fiction, you would enjoy reading them.)
As I have read these books, the idea that has been rolling around in my head has to do with reverence, respect, fear, and honor.
If you don’t know this story (it is from the Bible, found in Genesis chapters 37-50), the gist of it is this:
- Jacob had many sons, but he loved Joseph more than the others because he was the son of his most loved wife.
- Joseph had dreams that he would one day rule over his father and brothers.
- Joseph’s brothers didn’t like that so much and plotted to kill him. But rather than kill him, the sold him into slavery.
- Joseph ended up in Egypt where he gained power in Potiphar’s house.
- Potiphar’s wife wanted Joseph, but Joseph would not sleep with her so she lied and said he wanted to take her against her will.
- Joseph was thrown in prison.
- In prison, Joseph once again gained power and at one point interpreted two other prisoners dreams.
- After one of the prisoners was released back into Pharaoh’s service, Pharaoh had a couple of dreams that no one could interpret, and the prisoner remembered Joseph.
- Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, and was subsequently put in charge of all of Egypt to plan for the upcoming famine that the Lord was telling about through the dream.
- During the famine, Joseph’s brothers (and eventually father) come to Egypt in search of food and after some time Joseph reveals that he is their brother.
- The family moves to Egypt and settles there.
I know this story and have known it for most of my life. It is nothing new to me. But what is standing out to me in this story is this: each time someone enters the presence of Potiphar, Pharaoh, and Joseph, they immediately fall to the floor on their face. They are entering the presence of very powerful men (and in the Egyptians case, they see Pharaoh as a god), and they show the proper respect, honor, fear, and reverence for their leaders. They get the fact that these people are important and they need to show that they know it.
And then I start thinking about me and my Ruler, my God. Do I show that kind of reverence and respect for Him when I approach His throne? Am I quick to lay face-down on the floor in His presence? At home? Sometimes, but even then I am at times more worried that the carpet isn’t clean enough for me to be laying on than why I am on the floor in the first place. In public worship? Well, maybe I will kneel at my seat during prayer, but what might the people around me think If I were to go up to the altar and lay on my face?
I think we have lost some of the awe that we need to feel as we approach our Father God. He is accessible and He wants to commune with us and there is a certain level of comfort we have knowing that He is available to us, and yet He is also Holy and we need to approach Him as such.
Nicole Nordeman sings a song, Tremble, that addresses these thoughts – take a listen.
What do you think?