You have been our dwelling place, a prayer of intercession

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You have been our dwelling place
A prayer of intercession

The old man slowly placed one step in front of the other.
Full of days he climbed the mountain.
Carefully, intentionally.
The last month he had told of the blessings of God's dealings in his life
He had blessed the people recounting how God came down to a mountain to speak to them
Faced with life’s end before the man he was once again be the mountain climber
Much younger, he had climbed through frightening clouds with thunder
Today, placing one step in front of the other, steadfast, just as prepared to meet his God

And from the peaks, thought back on the difficulties of his journey of life
A decree would cause his journey to take a lifetime, hopes deferred
A hard decree because of hard hearts
All would die wandering, never seeing the land
All but the few who saw then by faith and the children
Pressing on, soon he will see with his own eyes what they saw by faith
On the doorsteps of going into 'the promised land' his sister died,
then in another blow on another mountain, his brother would die as he watched.
He buried his brother himself.

Dealing with the grief of his losses for this and other disappointments, he wrote a prayer partly for himself and also for the people
Forty years now wandered in the dessert
Living in a tent surrounded by people in tents
Long centuries slaves in Egypt
Our father’s wandered almost without property to speak of

He begins to preach it to himself for strength.
“But You, have been our refuge, our dwelling place.
Though all these generations every one
Before mountains like this one I stand on or the others around it ever were
Before the world was made
From everlasting past to everlasting future
You are God, lord, master, owner, Adonai,”, he prays.

He pressed on toward the peak.
His brother, his sister, and himself would not go into the land
His life would end, as he spent most of his life, 'a stranger in a strange land', never home.

“You ordain us to return to the dust which we came
Generation after generation you carry men away like a flood to their end. They live. They die.
A thousand years to you are the same as a few passing hours in the night, soon gone.
We wake at the end of life and don't realize where the time went as if awakened from a long sleep.
We are like a plant that sprouts and dies the same day.
Just a day. Just one day. Teach us to number our days that
We may present to you a heart of wisdom.

The stormy blast of your anger brings us to an end,
Yahweh, our covenant God, we have felt your anger, your wrath. We felt it all our days.
Our most private sins are plainly before you gaze
Although an old man of 120, the old man now looking down at the people says
'We' live 70, maybe 80 years and in the end much is hard labor and sorrow, we end, we sigh, we fly away"

He stood and looked. Finally now at the top
He continues identifying with the people and intercedes for children and children's children

"You decree we return to dust; decree we return to rejoicing.
Return to us. Satisfy us with mercy. Do it soon."
Knowing his own life would not last another day, he continued thinking of others.
"Fill each day with gladness, as many as are left."

Once he had asked God to show him God's glory but had been shown God's back, God's goodness.
Recalling "no one can see my glory and live," he asks a final request for the people."
His appeal for leniency turns to an appeal for blessing in God.

He thought on his own failures.
He would not enter the land, not in this life as hoped, but he will be given a glimpse.
Like Jacob he wrestles on, as if with the angel, hoping to be blessed.

"Yahweh our Elohim,
Let your invisible work appear to us.
Let your glory be apparent to our children
Open the eyes of our hearts wide
Let your beauty rub off on us.
He began with God preceding cosmic and alpine works of his hands
He moves to the work of our hands
Establish the work of our hands.
Establish the work of our hands, " petition done.

The old man looked out over the mountain, last worshipful intervention over.
He would look but not enter

The prayer of the man of God
The prayer of Moses
The oldest Psalm
Psalm 90

The Psalm with “Teach us to number our days” appears from the deep past.
The fourth book of Psalms opens with his prayer.
Numbers a book both of seemingly endless roaming and sure approach of destination.
Book 4, poetically echoes the journey wanderings of Numbers.
Songs to be reflected on by those who have lives sojourning as 'strangers in a strange land'.

Two Psalms of dwelling open book four
"Thou has been our dwelling place", Psalm 90
"Those who dwell in the secret place of the most high", Psalm 91
Two final songs.
Book four will end with two long recounts of a wider journey
Both covering long centuries
Behold what God has done for Israel, history told thankfully, Psalm 105.
Behold what Israel has done to God, history told penitentialy, Psalm 106.
Two words end.
Amen and Hallelujah
Book four closes.

Book five
Anticipation of the promised land.

Moses did make it to the promised land,
More that he would ever hope and on another mountain top
Discussing another departure from this world, an exodus, a greater one, through a greater than Moses
No longer 'a stranger in a strange land', but home.
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