Reading: Psalm 27
One thing I ask of the LORD,
This is what I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
To gaze on the beauty of the LORD
And seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
He will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
And set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me;
At his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD (NIV).
No matter where we travel, or how pleasant the journey, within us all there is a longing to be home. The same longing for the safety and comfort of home can be found in this psalm of David, but for David, being at home meant being in the presence of God. The LORD God was David’s refuge and comfort. To be near the LORD was to be safe, at rest and fully at peace. Nearness to God was the paramount desire of David’s heart.
Now hear David’s heart cry, “One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and seek him in his temple.”
David’s statement here delineates a clear priority. For David the house of the LORD was of first importance. But, I do not believe that it was the physical structure or house that attracted and captivated David. It was the LORD of the house who captured David’s heart. He wanted to be with Him. He longed to see Him and be at home in His house.
Like many preschool children, my youngest son Joshua had some difficulty pronouncing the t-h sound, so in his four-year-old vocabulary the word ‘with’ became ‘whiff’ instead. He would make odd sounding statements such as this, “Daddy, I want to come whiff you,” or, “I want to do that whiff you.” Doing something ‘whiff’ someone brings to mind the notion of being so close to them that you can smell each other. That’s close—really close; bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh close—father and son close—intimate in a family kind of way.
Something deep and soul changing transpired as David tended that flock of sheep on those Judean hillsides. In his youth David met God. The LORD was ‘whiff David,’ so close that they could smell each other. David in his youth tasted and saw that the LORD is good. So even now in his adult years he yearns for that intimacy. He yearns for the house of the LORD. He is filled with a longing for home.
Response: Lord Jesus, I want to be ‘whiff’ you. I want to live my life close to you now and close to you forever. Show me how to do that. Be near me, Lord Jesus. I ask you to stay close by me forever, and love me I pray. Amen.
Your Turn: Are you at home with the LORD now? How at home will we feel with Him in eternity, if we aren’t at home with Him now?
Reading: Psalm 26
LORD, I love the house where you live,
the place where your glory dwells.
Do not take away my soul along with sinners,
my life with those who are bloodthirsty,
in whose hands are wicked schemes,
whose right hands are full of bribes.
I lead a blameless life;
deliver me and be merciful to me.
My feet stand on level ground;
in the great congregation I will praise the LORD (NIV).
In America, Canada and much of the western world, people have been abandoning the house of God in droves. In the most recent census survey, by far the largest growth has been among those who identify themselves as having no religion. This move to “no religion” is most pronounced among our young people. There are many factors that have led to this decline. Perhaps a hard look in the mirror is needed for us to see what we are doing wrong. Jesus attracted people. Why are his followers today repelling people?
David had a completely different attitude toward the house of God. Hear the cry of his heart, “LORD, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells.”
No one had to drag David to the LORD’s house. He was eager to meet with God there. Really, that’s the secret. If God is in the house—if His glory is present—it will be hard to keep people away. The question we need to be asking ourselves is, “Is God in the house? Is His glory dwelling here among us?”
If God is truly, tangibly present among you, look out! The transformational power of God will overwhelm individuals and ignite the congregation. I have seen it happen and there is no experience quite like it.
I live in expectation of His appearing among us. The living Christ visits His church. Are you anticipating His coming? Have you set the table for Him? Have you prepared your heart and your mind? Have you put out the welcome mat?
All too often church has become program maintenance. The focus is entirely wrong. Church in its most vibrant form is God dwelling among us—God breathing upon us. That was the Book of Acts Church. That’s the church I love. When we have found that place—when we experience the LORD of that place—we will join David in declaring, “My feet stand on level ground; in the great congregation I will praise the LORD.”
Response: Come, Lord Jesus, dwell among. This is my confession: “LORD, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells.” Lord come and dwell in my local congregation. Manifest your presence there, so that many will see it and be changed by your Spirit. Amen.
Your Turn: Do you love the house of God? Why or Why not? Is God showing up at your church? What are you doing to make the place ready for Him?