“When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it. He was afraid…” (Genesis 28:16-17a)
A certain fear arises in us when we encounter places we consider holy. Moses before the bush that burned without being consumed recognized the presence of the Almighty, took off his shoes, and bowed to the ground in fear. John, in the Revelation, recognized that he was in a place where the Almighty was present, and bowed down in worship. Isaiah was in a place in the temple where he saw the Lord “high and lifted up,” and said, “Woe is me!” as he bowed down in fearful worship. Jacob, after he awoke from his dream, realized that the Lord was in the place where he slept among the rocks, and that he did not know it. That made his afraid, and led to his initial commitment to the Lord in faith.
There is something about being in a place we consider holy that alerts us, that gets our attention, that brings our minds into focus. This happens because we recognize that the Lord is there, and that realization generates a fearfulness before His awesomeness that almost automatically causes us to worship Him. This is a holy fear that moves us.
We all probably have places that we associate with the presence of God. This is good, of course, and it encourages us as we enjoy His awesome presence.
There is a related truth we need to consider, though. The Holy Spirit of God now dwells in all the hearts of all believers everywhere. God gifts us with His Spirit. This makes our hearts a holy place. It is the place of God’s presence, and His presence should be a cause for constant worship. Maybe this is related to what Paul meant when he said, “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Lord, We thank You that the presence of Your Spirit now makes our hearts a holy place. Help us to constantly be in a state of worship and prayer, and help us enjoy the thrill that comes from Your awesome presence. Amen.