READ THISThe Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
David concludes his Shepherd’s Psalm with this wish to be with God forever. Not just sometimes. Not just an hour on Sunday morning. Forever.
Not only that – David wants to go to where God is. The house of the Lord. For the Jewish people, the temple (and before it, the tabernacle – which is what David is referring to) was the physical place where God lived, where he ruled from. The one place where they believed mankind and the creator were together. Where the people made their offerings to show contrition and atonement for the wrongs they’d done. It’s the place of God’s presence on earth.SIde Note: when Jesus came, he claimed he was the new temple. The place where God and Man overlap. The way for people to be with God. The ultimate offering for our wrongs. So for us in many ways, when we hear Old Testament talk of the Temple, we can think of Jesus. (and also the church…but that’s for another day) This 4-minute teaching from the Bible Project is the most insightful bit of teaching on the temple I’ve ever come across. Do you want to visit God – or live with him?
Another way to ask it – do you want things from God – or do you want to be with him?
David expressed a similar desire in another one of his poem/songs -Psalm 27:One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.
David wanted to dwell there. To live there. To stay there. not just visit, not spend holidays or long weekends there – to move in and take up residence. Change the address on his drivers’ license kind of move.
The other way many of us have seen this played out is more like weekend visitors. We like to hang out with God – on our terms. We visit for a bit but then get to go home. We spend a day or so, but then duck out if we get bored. We can pop in for a bit, but take off if it no longer suits us.
So the question really is:
Do you want to visit God when you need a hand – or dwell with him?
Honestly – which do you want?
Answer this question:
What do you most want God to give you?
Is it a solution to a problem?
A reprieve from suffering?
A way out?
A ‘blessing’ of some kind?
What do you want more: That thing….or God himself?
Do you long to dwell in the house of God – or have him leave a present for you on the porch so you can pick it up?
Do you want that thing…or God himself?
If you could only have one….which one do you really want more?
God of all,
give us hearts that desire you.
Not your gifts, your blessings, your benefits.
But give us hearts that ache to be with you.
Give us hearts that long to dwell with you.
Hearts that long to be with you always.