The House Of God

Making Life Work
Read: Psalm 48
Focus: Psalm 48:9

Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.

There was something pretty special to the psalmist about the city of Jerusalem and the tabernacle that housed the earthly manifestation of presence of the Lord. If you read the rest of Scripture, you’ll find that God thought it pretty special, too.

Of course, the New Testament teaches us that under the new covenant, the Holy Spirit dwells in believers individually (I Corinthians 6:19) and collectively (I Corinthians 3:16-17), and we now are God’s temple, his dwelling place on the earth. Yet there is still something special about the place where believers come together to collectively lift their voices in praise, pour out their hearts in prayer, share their love in fellowship, serve one another in kindness, receive God’s anointed Word in gratitude, and convincingly call the lost to salvation.

Yes, we are the church—let’s not forget or get confused about that. But neither let us forget that the place we gather is also the church, and by virtue of our collective presence, along with the active presence of the Holy Spirit, the building becomes sanctified as well. It, too, is God’s temple.

All that to say that the church is a wonderful place to come and meditate on God’s unfailing love, just as the psalmist described. I would encourage you to add a new dimension to your regular routine of worship (if worship can ever, or should ever, be routine). Not only should you actively fellowship with God’s saints in the church (Hebrews 10:24-25), but slip into your church’s prayer room or sanctuary often for a time of simple solitude and quiet meditation. It can be with other people present, or just go in when you are alone and give it a try. Just sit and soak in the presence of God, and quietly reflect on who he is and what he has done.

Maybe like David, you’ll end up singing, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘let us go to the house of the Lord.'” (Psalm 122:1)

__________________

“In the rush and noise of life, as you have intervals, step home within yourselves and be still. Wait upon God, and feel His good presence; this will carry you evenly through your day’s business.” (William Penn)

 

Making Life Work: Go often to the physical place where the spiritual community to which you belong gathers for worship, and see if you don’t grow in your appreciation for the house of God, and more importantly, for the unfailing love of the Lord of the church.

Taking Care Of God’s House

Read Psalm 132

Featured Verse: Psalm 132:3-5

“I will not enter my house or go to my bed—I will allow no sleep to my eyes, no slumber to my eyelids, till I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

David had a passion for the house of God. He couldn’t tolerate the thought that as king, he would be able to build himself an unbelievably opulent palace while God’s dwelling was just a simple tent, the same tabernacle that had been used since the exodus.

Then there was the time David publicly danced with delight as the Ark of the Covenant was brought into Jerusalem to its resting place at the tabernacle. (II Samuel 6:14) The king’s pubic display of affection for the Divine was so extreme that his watching wife despised David for it. (II Samuel 6:16) But David didn’t care because he was passionate about the house of God.

David wanted desperately to build God a permanent structure—a temple. He knew God deserved the best. So he located property for the building, but rather than throwing his royal weight around to get a good deal for it, he insisted on paying full price. He said, “I won’t offer the Lord something that has cost me nothing.” (II Samuel 24:24) David had a passion for the house of God.

God had other plans, however, and told David that it would be his son, Solomon, who would build the temple. So what did David do? He set about to make all the preparations for construction in order for Solomon to have a good head start when he was inaugurated as Israel’s king. (I Chronicles 22:5) David was passionate for God’s house.

The Son of David, Jesus, was passionate about God’s house, too. Although he predicted that not one stone of it would be left upon another because of God’s judgment against the impure worship that took place there (Matthew 24:2), he did his best to bring purity to it. He drove the moneychangers from the temple—and not with gentle persuasion either. He made whips—and used them. He overturned the tables they had used to carry out their shady commerce. With an illustrated sermon that no one would ever forget, Jesus cleansed the temple. (John 2:13-16) Jesus was passionate about the house of God!

Of both David (Psalm 69:9) and Jesus (John 2:17), the Word of God says, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

So how about you? I’m not suggesting you take a whip to worship next weekend, but what I do hope for is that the same zeal for God’s house that consumed David and the Son of David will consume you. Me, too!

By the way, where is God’s house today?  I think I’ll let the quote below from John Calvin answer that!

“Wherever we see the Word of God purely preached and heard, there a church of God exists, even if it swarms with many faults.”
~John Calvin

O Jerusalem

Read Psalm 122

Featured Verse: Psalm 122:6-7

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:“May those who love you be secure.  May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.”

Why should I pray for the peace and prosperity of a city that is not even in my country? My goodness, I have enough to worry about in my own community much less one that’s clear across the ocean! And why should Jerusalem get singled out for special attention? What about London or Moscow or Pretoria or Sao Paolo? Aren’t those cities important to God?

Well yes, those cities are important to God—all cities are! But Jerusalem is special. It’s special because God chose it as the physical place that would house his uncontainable presence. He selected the land of Canaan as the place where his people would live, Jerusalem to be the city where his temple would be constructed, and the sanctuary of that temple would serve as the central location for his people to worship him.

And even though there is no longer a temple, it is very clear from Scripture that Jerusalem has a prominent place in God’s grand plan for the eternal ages, where once again, Jerusalem will be the central place in the entire universe, in all creation, where redeemed beings will gather to worship Almighty God.

I think that is reason enough to love Jerusalem. That is plenty of motivation to pray for the city above all others. Since Jerusalem factors significantly with the people and purpose of God, I will go out of my way to be protective of it. (Psalm 122:8) And since it once housed the Great House of God, and one day will again, I will do what I can to contribute to its prosperity. (Psalm 122:9)

Perhaps you have never been to Jerusalem, and maybe you don’t give the city much thought. I want to challenge you to rethink that—on both levels. Do what you can to go there—make plans to go there at least once in your life. And in the meantime, consciously pay more attention to its goings on, keep your eye out for news about it, attend functions in support of it, and most of all, pray for it!

Do all that, and sooner of later, you will fall in love, like I have, with a city. There’s no place like it!

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, lift up your gates and sing
Hosanna, in the highest, hosanna to the king.

“If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill.”
~Jewish Exiles In Babylon

Psalm 132: Taking Care Of God’s House

One Year Bible: I Kings 12:20-13:34, Acts 9:26-43; Psalm 132:1-18; Proverbs 17:6

Taking Care Of God’s House

“I will not enter my house or go to my bed—
I will allow no sleep to my eyes, no slumber to my eyelids,
till I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
(Psalm 132:3-5)

David had a passion for the house of God. He couldn’t tolerate the thought that as king, he would be able to build himself an unbelievably opulent palace while God’s dwelling was just a simple tent, the same tabernacle that had been used since the exodus.

Then there was the time David publicly danced with delight as the Ark of the Covenant was brought into Jerusalem to its resting place at the tabernacle. (II Samuel 6:14) The king’s pubic display of affection for the Divine was so extreme that his watching wife despised David for it. (II Samuel 6:16) But David didn’t care because he was passionate about the house of God.

David wanted desperately to build God a permanent structure—a temple. He knew God deserved the best. So he located property for the building, but rather than throwing his royal weight around to get a good deal for it, he insisted on paying full price. He said, “I won’t offer the Lord something that has cost me nothing.” (II Samuel 24:24) David had a passion for the house of God.

God had other plans, however, and told David that it would be his son, Solomon, who would build the temple. So what did David do? He set about to make all the preparations for construction in order for Solomon to have a good head start when he was inaugurated as Israel’s king. (I Chronicles 22:5) David was passionate for God’s house.

The Son of David, Jesus, was passionate about God’s house, too. Although he predicted that not one stone of it would be left upon another because of God’s judgment against the impure worship that took place there (Matthew 24:2), he did his best to bring purity to it. He drove the moneychangers from the temple—and not with gentle persuasion either. He made whips—and used them. He overturned the tables they had used to carry out their shady commerce. With an illustrated sermon that no one would ever forget, Jesus cleansed the temple. (John 2:13-16) Jesus was passionate about the house of God!

Of both David (Psalm 69:9) and Jesus (John 2:17), the Word of God says, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

So how about you? I’m not suggesting you take a whip to worship with you next weekend, but what I do hope for is that the same zeal for God’s house that consumed David and the Son of David will consume you. Me, too!

“Wherever we see the Word of God purely preached and heard,
there a church of God exists, even if it swarms with many faults.”

~John Calvin

Psalm 122: O Jerusalem

One Year Bible: II Samuel 22:21-23:23, Acts 2:1-47; Psalm 122:1-9; Proverbs 16:19-20

O Jerusalem

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels.”
(Psalm 122:6-7)

Why should I pray for the peace and prosperity of a city that is not even in my country? My goodness, I have enough to worry about in my own community much less one that’s clear across the ocean! And why should Jerusalem get singled out for special attention? What about London or Moscow or Pretoria or Sao Paolo? Aren’t those cities important to God?

Well yes, those cities are important to God—all cities are! But Jerusalem is special. It’s special because God chose it as the physical place that would house his uncontainable presence. He selected the land of Canaan as the place where his people would live, Jerusalem to be the city where his temple would be constructed, and the sanctuary of that temple would serve as the central location for his people to worship him.

And even though there is no longer a temple, it is very clear from Scripture that Jerusalem has a prominent place in God’s grand plan for the eternal ages, where once again, Jerusalem will be the central place in the entire universe, in all creation, where redeemed beings will gather to worship Almighty God.

I think that is reason enough to love Jerusalem. That is plenty of motivation to pray for the city above all others. Since Jerusalem factors significantly with the people and purpose of God, I will go out of my way to be protective of it. (Psalm 122:8) And since it once housed the Great House of God, and one day will again, I will do what I can to contribute to its prosperity. (Psalm 122:9)

Perhaps you have never been to Jerusalem, and maybe you don’t give the city much thought. I want to challenge you to rethink that—on both levels. Do what you can to go there—make plans to go there at least once in your life. And in the meantime, consciously pay more attention to its goings on, keep your eye out for news about it, attend functions in support of it, and most of all, pray for it!

Do all that, and sooner of later, you will fall in love, like I have, with a city. There’s no place like it!

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, lift up your gates and sing
Hosanna, in the highest, hosanna to the king.

“If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill.”
~Jewish Exiles In Babylon

Psalm 48: The House Of God

Read Psalm 48:1-14

The House Of God

Within your temple, O God,
we meditate on your unfailing love.
(Psalm 48:9)

There was something pretty special to the psalmist about the city of Jerusalem and the tabernacle that housed the earthly manifestation of presence of the Lord. If you read the rest of Scripture, you’ll find that God thought it pretty special, too.

Of course, the New Testament teaches us that under the new covenant, the Holy Spirit dwells in believers individually (I Corinthians 6:19) and collectively (I Corinthians 3:16-17), and we now are God’s temple, his dwelling place on the earth. Yet there is still something special about the place where believers come together to collectively lift their voices in praise, pour out their hearts in prayer, share their love in fellowship, serve one another in kindness, teach God’s anointed Word, and convincingly call the lost to salvation.

Yes, we are the church—let’s not forget or get confused about that. But neither let us forget that the place we gather is also the church, and by virtue of our collective presence, along with the active presence of the Holy Spirit, the building becomes sanctified as well. It, too, is God’s temple.

All that to say that the church is a wonderful place to come and meditate on God’s unfailing love, just as the psalmist described. I would encourage you to add a new dimension to your regular routine of worship (if worship can ever, or should ever, be routine). Not only should you actively fellowship with God’s saints in the church (Hebrews 10:24-25), but slip into your church’s prayer room or sanctuary often for a time of simple solitude and quiet meditation. It can be with other people present, or just go in when you are alone and give it try it. Just sit and soak in the presence of God, and quietly reflect on who he is and what he has done.

Do it often, and see if you don’t grow in your appreciation for the house of God, and more importantly, for the unfailing love of the Lord of the church.

“In the rush and noise of life, as you have intervals, step home within yourselves and be still. Wait upon God, and feel His good presence; this will carry you evenly through your day’s business.”
—William Penn