Reading: Psalm 15
A psalm of David.
LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?
The one whose walk is blameless,
who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from their heart;
whose tongue utters no slander,
who does no wrong to a neighbor,
and casts no slur on others;
who despises a vile person
but honors those who fear the LORD;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
and does not change their mind;
who lends money to the poor without interest;
who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
will never be shaken (NIV).
Where are you living? Please note, I did not ask, “What is your address?”
For the Old Testament believer, God had an address. He lived in the Tent of Meeting on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. Later this was the location of the great temple built by Solomon. But this entire psalm is based on the premise that we can live in the presence of God. Why else would David ask, “LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain?”
It would appear that wherever we are, it is possible to live one’s life in the conscious presence of the LORD. What an awesome privilege. But how is that possible? On an intellectual level, this is a no brainer. God is present everywhere. We are continually living our lives in full view of an omnipresent God.
Am I always aware of His presence? No, not always.
What can I do to change that? The psalmist lists some requirements for living in the LORD’s presence. Apparently, God is vitally concerned with the way we walk out our life of faith—the words we speak, and our interactions with neighbours and friends. The list of requirements found in this psalm is all about practical day to day living, being true to our word, loving our neighbour, and being generous to those in need.
The day is coming when I will meet the LORD face to face, but can I see Him before that final day? Do I see Him in the face of my neighbour?
Response: Heavenly Father, I don’t want to come for an occasional visit. I want to live in your presence now and in eternity. Today, help me interact with others with the knowledge that you are watching every thought, word and action. I’m living with you. Amen.
Your Turn: When are you most conscious of God’s presence in your life?
Reading: Psalm 48
A song. A psalm of the Sons of Korah.
Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain.
Beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth, like the heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King.
God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress.
When the kings joined forces, when they advanced together, they saw her and were astounded; they fled in terror.
Trembling seized them there, pain like that of a woman in labor. You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish shattered by an east wind.
As we have heard, so we have seen in the city of the LORD Almighty, in the city of our God: God makes her secure forever (NIV).
I grew up on a farm in wide open rural Saskatchewan. It was a cross-country mile to the nearest neighbour, but if you stood at the right spot in our farmyard, you could see our neighbour’s house. I loved growing up on the farm and I still love visiting. Who wouldn’t? I was living in God’s country surrounded by the wild beauty of nature in all its varied, changing forms.
But I have spent the last forty years living in the city—actually three rather large cities with populations of more than a million. Is the God of the open country the God of the city too? The psalmist seemed to think so. He begins Psalm 48 with this declaration: Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain.
Of course the sons of Korah were referring to biblical Jerusalem, more specifically Mount Zion, the fortified citadel within the walls of Israel’s capital. God was within her. During the reign of David the Ark of the Covenant—the seat of the LORD’s rule—was housed in the sacred tabernacle on Mount Zion. This was where God dwelt.
Where does God dwell today? As partakers of the new covenant, through the blood of Christ we are the temples of God. Paul, the apostle, asks, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). God dwells in the city too—your city. Whether it’s Edmonton, Ottawa, New York or Tokyo, God is within her because His redeemed people live there.
Response: LORD, I thank you because you live within us! Help me to let my light shine in my city. Amen.
Your Turn: How would you characterize your city? How is God revealing His presence there?