How lovely is your dwelling place,

O LORD of hosts!

My soul longs, yes, faints

for the courts of the LORD;

my heart and flesh sing for joy

to the living God.

Psalm 84: 1, 2

 

This is a song of longing and desire. It tells of the longing of God’s people to visit His holy temple so that they could again be in the presence of God. As this psalm anticipates an event to come and a time when that ideal will be achieved, today we could take it to indicate that time in the future when we are with Christ in heaven and possibly that promise of restoration in Jesus’ second coming. Followers of Christ can find great hope in the promise of eternity and in the understanding of God’s plan for a renewal of His creation glory on this earth. However, I don’t think that this is how we should take the meaning of these words today. To me, this psalm speaks to a living reality that has been realized in Christ.

 

We no longer need to travel to a place in order to find the fully realized presence of the Lord. His Spirit is in us and is active in our world. This place, even with its brokenness and its rebellion against God’s Word and His will, is a holy place, for it is the dwelling place of the Lord. He has not surrendered His original claim to the ownership of every inch of this planet. I recognize that God’s title to creation and His occupancy of this world are being challenged continually. It is apparent in the news of our days and in the events of our lives that this challenge is being carried out by determined and very powerful enemies of the Lord. The ensuing struggle is the real war that is on-going in our world today just as it has been since the beginning of its history.

 

As a follower of Christ, it is helpful to me to allow Him to reshape my thinking about my world by opening my eyes, my ears, and my heart to the presence of the Lord in this dwelling place where He has placed me. When I focus my vision on Christ and on His desire for all of creation, I start to see things differently. In that light, I see the imprints of the creative hand of God in the natural world that surrounds me, and I appreciate His imagination and intellect in what people have created. Even more importantly than all of that, I begin to embrace and to understand the truth of who and what every person on this earth truly is. We are all creatures who are made in the image of God, and each of us possesses a soul that is formed out of His breath. So, even when faced with people and with situations that are frightening, troubling, or uncomfortable; I can move forward with a song of worship on my mouth and the love, grace, and mercy of Christ extended to all who I encounter.

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