Avoiding Divine Lethargy

Gen. 28:17 - Jacob 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.”

An author shared the following insight.  "Artists talk of the dynamic of visual lethargy, which means that the more you see of something, the less you actually see it.  On that drive to work the first day, you are conscious of all the sights and sounds.  You notice that beautiful grove of ancient tress and that cool modern duplex on the corner.  But by your twentieth trip, you've quit noticing, and you're wishing the traffic would move faster so you could get to work, for Pete's sake!  Something has happened to you that seems inevitable but it is not good.  You have quit seeing, and in your failure to see, you have quit being moved and thankful" (Paul David Tripp, Dangerous Calling).

Just as artists can suffer visual lethargy from constant exposure to beautiful works of art, if we're not careful it is equally possible for saints to develop divine lethargy where we lose our awe of God because of our constant exposure to His word and His presence in our lives.

It was moving to read Jacob's response to his nighttime vision.  The conniving younger son of Isaac was fleeing home out of fear for his life.  As he lay down that evening, he dreamt of being in a place that connected heaven and earth, and heard God bestow on him the promises of Abraham and Isaac!  When he awoke, he describes the place as "awesome"!  This word would not be used again until the Israelites were singing the praises of God after being delivered from Pharaoh by crossing the Red Sea (Ex. 15:11).

We need to follow the example of Jacob as we continue to encounter our incredible God and avoid divine lethargy!  Like Jacob we should humbly and honestly see our failures and shortcomings as we live in the presence of our holy and awesome God.

Jeremy Dehut

(Originally written 1/10/13)