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“What a mighty mountain is Bashan, a mountain of many peaks! Why from your mighty peaks do you look with scorn on the mountain on which God chose to live? The Lord will live there for ever”.

Ps 68:15, 16 GNB

The ancient Israelite people had a very real sense that God who had accompanied them on their journey from Egypt to the land which he had assigned to them, Israel, was very much there with them in Israel. Their sense of God’s presence was almost a sense of a physical presence. Having conquered foreign kings and their armies God had decided to dwell there on a permanent basis. For them he lived there in Jerusalem on Mount Zion. “Bashan” in the text most probably refers to Mount Hermon in Lebanon – a huge high mountain that dominates most of Israel’s skyline. Most people would have expected God to dwell on that supreme high mountain, but he “chose” to remain in Jerusalem.

Where does God really dwell? Is he still in Jerusalem? Is he in the Vatican in Rome? Or Washington maybe? Or in some spectacularly beautiful place? The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost had the effect of driving the apostles out of Jerusalem. They took the message of Jesus wherever they went. They knew that God was no longer the national possession of the Israelites. He was in Damascus, in Antioch, in Philippi or Corinth or wherever simple souls would enthrone him in their hearts and make Jesus their Lord. He no longer belongs to this nationality or that. He had “gone out of the here into the everywhere”. He is in a school class- room, in a home where people love him, next to you. And he goes wherever you take him.


Lord, let me live always close to you.


I pray today Lord for married couples who are experiencing conflict and are thinking that separation or divorce is the preferred way forward. Help them to think clearly and to seek professional counsel. Guide them to consider reconciliation as an option. I ask it in Jesus’ name. AMEN


I.B.R.A. Readings

Matthew 5:43–48

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