Wednesday, August 15, 2007

More from Augustine of Hippo...

Each morning I am presently reading from Augustine's Confessions as part of a time of devotion. To sound very 21st-Century, he is blowing me away. Or to sound like Howard Hendricks, "he is blowing every circuit in my brain," and I would add in my heart. Listen to this prayer from our 4th-Century brother. "What a wretch I am! In your mercies, Lord God, tell me what you are to me. 'Say to my soul, I am your salvation' (Ps. 34.3). Speak to me so that I may hear. See the ears of my heart are before you, Lord. Open them and 'say to my soul, I am your salvation.' After that utterance I will run and lay hold on you. Do not hide your face from me (cf. Ps. 26.9). Lest I die, let me die so that I may see it."

This last line puzzled me for some time until I read the translator's notes where Exod. 33.20 is referenced. "But he said (Yahweh to Moses), 'you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live'" (ESV). You see Augustine is praying that God will not hide his face from him, and he feels that he will die if he does not enter the divine presence (cf. Ps. 26). However, he knows his Hebrew Bible because he knows that if he sees the face of God he will not live (Exod. 33). Augustine's response: "Let me die so that I may see it." Do we desire God that much. Are we willing to die in order to see the face of God? Am I willing? Are you willing?


Floyd Edwards said...

I share your awe of St. Augustine, and quote him often. Man, he really had his act together,didn't he?

Sam Oughton said...

When sharing prayer with the youth, what better than to read such a prayer and talk about what he was asking God and what he wanted to happen or for the prayer to accomplish.

This is sooo good.
Thanks, Sam