Throughout Psalm 23, David doesn’t pray for one thing. He declares God’s goodness, rejoicing in what he gets to partake in because of God’s goodness. The crescendo of the entire psalm is where we end today, “…and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”. With certainty, David confesses, I WILL DWELL IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD FOREVER! David had confidence that God’s abiding presence would be with him through every season.
Two questions I want to address today:
1.What does it mean to dwell in the house of the Lord?
This is belonging. The central theme from Genesis to Revelation is that God wants mankind with Him where He is. This is His desire. He wants us to dwell with Him. To dwell means to remain, commune, abide.
At the beginning of scripture, in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve dwelled with God in perfect union. Throughout scripture, we see God restoring union with mankind. At the end of scripture, in Revelation 21 we read, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people and He will dwell with them. They will be His people and God Himself will be with them and be their God,” verse 3. It is complete. His desire fulfilled.
Take a look at these scriptures pointing to the desire of David’s heart to be near to God. Psalm 26:8, “Lord, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells.” In Psalm 27:4, David cries out for one thing, the highest priority of his life, “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 upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” The words of Psalm 84:1-2 are the desperation of the soul crying out for more of God, “How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” David had desire to dwell with God. The question is, how much desire do you have to dwell with God, in the house? How much of God do you desire?
Our hearts are made for Jesus! He is the one who satisfies us with good things. Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us that our hearts are made for eternity~ only God can fill our lives! He’s the only one. Our good Shepherd’s desire is to usher us into His home because we belong there! John 17 takes us to a garden place where Jesus is talking with His Father about the highest priority in his life. In John 17:24, Jesus prays the deepest desire of His heart, “Father, I desire those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” The eternal God who needs nothing wants to dwell with mankind, that we would be with Him.
Heaven is when the tension of the now and not yet are removed. Revelation 21-22 gives us the glimpse of heaven. Eden is established forever! Heaven is the place where we get to be with God for all eternity, to experience His glory. The Glory of God imbues all of heaven. It is the air of heaven. His glory is the tangible manifestation of the infinite beauty and splendor of His magnificent face. We see now in part, we experience a glimpse, but a day is coming where the veil will be removed and eternity will be realized by every person from every generation.
David had his mind set on the reality of another realm. He knew there was something more. He had encountered God in the tabernacle and that shifted his priority and focus.
2.Why is this important for us? An understanding of our future hope helps us navigate through the present-day reality. Have you planned a vacation? This is a future hope in a temporal sense. We love our vacations to Florida. In the wintery, dreary days of February (the present-day realities), I have a future hope and that hope is the Florida beach in March. That future hope is my focus so I can get through the days. This is what David is saying at the end of this psalm. “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”. This future hope helped him to navigate through his daily realities. We can smile at our future because it is very good!
We are sojourners on the earth. This is not our home! We are passing through. Philippians 3:20 reminds us that our citizenship is in heaven. We are going onward. We are not staying in any dark valleys. With eternity as our focus, we persevere. Hebrews 11 recounts the lives of faith fathers and mothers, who lived filled with hope and a rock- solid confidence in God, that He was who He said He was and that His promises are true.
This is what Psalm 23 calls us to understand. David filled his mind and thoughts on what was true about God. You and I have the power to select what we allow our minds to dwell on and what we think about. Make a choice to think about God in ways that match what God is really like. He is a good Shepherd and in Him you lack nothing. Let the words of Psalm 23 be a prayer and a meditation for your heart and mind.