May 20, 2016

Psalm 84:4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.

This Psalm is a sweet one indeed, with several parts of it having been set to music even in recent years. It’s not by David or some other king, but by an anonymous Levite, a descendant of Korah. That makes it all the more approachable, as something that applies to any believer. As a Levite, the author was in the temple a great deal more than the average person, and he was deeply appreciative of that fact. Today we aren’t limited to a physical temple, but have the possibility of worship/fellowship with God anywhere and everywhere, by the presence of the Holy Spirit. The question then becomes, how much do we value that privilege and make use of it? This verse gives a strong clue. It is indeed a blessed thing to live in God’s house, in His presence, but a characteristic of those who do so is that they are always praising God. If you think God is far away, try praising Him! I like how the ESV and some other translations render Psalm 22:3. “Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.” It also gives as an alternate reading, “Dwelling in the praises of Israel.” If you want to enter God’s house, and not just go to a building, you need to do so with a heart of praise. As long as we are focused on I-my-me-mine, we aren’t going to be in God’s house, wherever we are physically! God is not stingy with His presence, but we have to get our focus off of ourselves in order to receive it.

I am in the decidedly unique position of living in the church building, which even the Levite didn’t do. That makes it all the more important that I focus on praising God, because otherwise familiarity indeed breeds contempt. When all the little mundane details of my life take place here, it takes a conscious choice to focus on God. However, when I make that choice, I find He is present indeed, in this building or out of it. I have some sweet times of fellowship when I am out walking, for example, as I “count my blessings” and sing to Him (generally just in my heart, but sometimes out loud). What I want the believers to understand is that He is just as available to them, and this building, though a blessing, is hardly essential. I want them to understand that, as Paul said, they themselves are God’s temple, (1 Corinthians 6:19) and let His praise fill that temple, as Jack Hayford put to music so beautifully.

Father, I believe You are in the process of doing some wonderful things in this church. May we indeed grow to be the praying, praising manifestation of the Body of Christ that You intend for us to be, so that the gates of hell may indeed be shattered before us (Matthew 16:18) and multitudes be set free, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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