Living in God’s House

One thing I ask from the Lord,

this only do 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 to seek him in his temple.  (Psalm 27:4)

I’ve had a picture of what it looks like to dwell in God’s temple this last season… and it’s beautiful.

Low expectations

Somehow I had come to the point where I associated my relationship with God with sacrifice, servanthood, hard work and surrender.

Sound familiar?

To be sure, these are Biblical principles, but they’re only half the story (and to be honest, kind of the struggle-half).  There’s also the blessings, delight, joy and honour – gifts from God I assumed would be a “one day” blessing, waiting in heaven. 

For now, though, the best I could hope for was to be joyful in my suffering, fulfilled in my service and find rest through my hard work.

Can you relate?

I’m currently finding myself surprised that my mentality isn’t shared by Biblical authors.

Consider David.

He thought his blessings would not only be a future hope, but a present reality. 

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13)

He expected God to come through in the here & now.  And since this is a guy who lived on the run, afraid for his life, waiting for God to fulfill his promise for decades, that’s a gutsy kind of expectation.

He believed he could actually dwell in God’s presence not just one day in heaven, but every day.

One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do 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 to seek him in his temple.  (Psalm 27:4, emphasis mine)

David was no stranger to suffering, sacrifice and service, but he absolutely expected (and received) victory, honour, blessings and riches from God in every season of his life.

I wonder what that would look like today?

I wonder what it even means to “dwell in the house of the Lord” – not one day, but all the days of my life?

I think it’s time to figure this out.

Dwelling in the house of the Lord

To dwell in God’s temple means that’s where I live.  That’s where I eat my meals, spend my evenings and fall asleep in my own bed.  Did you catch that?  I have a bedroom in God’s temple!!

It does’t mean I don’t work, or that I don’t sacrifice or that I don’t serve… but it’s a shift in the when and how.

In God’s temple, the sacrifices are shouts of joy.  (Psalm 27:6)

In God’s temple, my “work” is to make music and sing (Psalm 27:6).

In God’s temple, his goodness is for today.  “In the land of the living,” not a future hope of heaven (Psalm 27:13)

In God’s temple, we are sheltered and protected.  (Psalm 27:5)

The battles aren’t over – but the temple isn’t a place of warfare.  We go out to claim victory over our enemies, and we return to the temple to be nourished, rested, equipped and trained.  There is a war to be fought, but it’s one we do daily out of a place of being satisfied & rested.  

Can you imagine that for a moment with me?  Dream what that figuratively looks like?

Dreaming of life in the temple

Coming into a castle-like temple (indulge me!), taking off that sweaty and beat up armour, handing over your sword to be cleaned, and finding a hot shower and clean clothes waiting for you.

You clean up and head over to the banquet hall where there is – as always – a banquet prepared.  You get to sit down with friends and swap stories and celebrate victories and puzzle together over strategies, all the while filling yourself up with hot, nourishing, delicious food that’s been made for you.

You have time to sit at your Father’s feet as He soaks in the laughter and chatter and tears and sorrows of his children from the day’s events, and you quiet down to hear Him tell stories from years gone by.  

You have a bedroom – one that’s all yours, designed and created especially for you – and you fall asleep in it at night, waking refreshed and rested.

Then the morning routine – stretches, exercises, breakfast and reporting to duty.  You report for your marching orders – some days back to the battle, your armour prepared for you while you were asleep, some days to sit in front of maps and books and strategies, some days to rest and heal in God’s house and some days to go out by a brother’s side and support them in their battles.  When you leave for the day, though, it’s with the confidence you’ll be back again that evening – you’re doing what you’re called to do, equipped with the finest from God’s armoury, shoulder to shoulder with brothers and sisters in arms, and the confidence that you are walking towards victory – not without danger, not without struggle or hardship – but guaranteed victory.

Reality Check

Doesn’t that sound different than the reality many of us live in?  If I could describe the state of North American ministry leaders in North America, I would use words like isolated, lonely, starving, desperate, weary, worn out, exhausted, under-equipped and more.

I can’t reconcile that reality with the idea of dwelling in God’s temple. 

I think I’m ready to stick around this place and learn what the difference is.

I’m not running from the war, but I most definitely am sticking close to my Father’s side these days – I’m done fighting battles I wasn’t called to fight without His weapons, rhythms, strategies and supports.

I’m stilling willing to sacrifice, but there’s no reason to go hungry when I’m invited to a banquet every night.  I’m still willing to suffer, but there’s no reason to sleep on the ground when I’ve got my own bedroom just around the corner.  I’m still willing to serve, but I’m not called to every cause – just to show up daily for my marching orders, and come home every night to my Father’s house.

I wonder how that would change everything?

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