We have stepped into a new year. Yet I believe we need an old focus as we move through it. The writer of Psalm 132 expresses the passion David carried for a dwelling place for Yahweh.
A Song of Ascents. 1 Remember, O Yahweh, on David’s behalf, All his affliction; 2 How he swore to Yahweh And vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob, 3 “Surely I will not come into my house, Nor lie in the comfort of my bed; 4 I will not give sleep to my eyes Or slumber to my eyelids, 5 Until I find a place for Yahweh, A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.” 6 Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah, We found it in the fields of Jaar. 7 Let us come into His dwelling place; Let us worship at the footstool of His feet. 8 Arise, O Yahweh, to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your strength. 9 Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, And let Your holy ones sing for joy. Psalm 132:1-9 LSB
Just as a house needs a foundation for the rest to be built upon, and to stay in place a ship needs an anchor, so too, we need to look at what we anchor and build our worship on. Not only our faith, but a major aspect of it, our worship. Here the Psalmist sought to anchor the future in the heart that David carried and his passion to see a dwelling place established for Yahweh.
One thing this Psalm tells us is that we need to seek His face and heart. This is always true yet as His body we seem to engage in it only intermittently. Here David’s passion was to see a place for Yahweh to dwell and interact with His people, a place of encounter where heaven met earth.
In our time we don’t need to build a dwelling place, we need to understand how to individually and corporately be a dwelling place! After all we know from the New Testament that we are in fact His dwelling place on earth in this season of time.
16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. 1 Corinthians 3:16–17 (NKJV)
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 (NKJV)
In these two passages Paul gives both a warning and an exhortation. The context in chapter 3 is the Corinthians demonstrating immaturity by exhibiting selfishness and division in their gatherings. The context is chapter 6 is their defiling Yahweh’s temple through sexual immorality. It is clear from both of these passages that as a group of believers the Corinthians were in danger and seemed not to have recognized that, hence Paul’s warnings.
I believe and pray that we will have a greater awareness of the importance of being His dwelling place on earth and that it will affect how we live our lives before Jesus and before others. It should be very obvious that we cannot walk in sexual immorality and the Father’s favour at the same time, they are mutually exclusive. Most of the church seems to easily get this reality. Yet if we allow division and competition we are in just as much danger. In fact, Paul’s warning is stronger in 3:17 where he warns, “If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him.” Here Paul is addressing envy, strife and division (3:3).
This tells us that we need to walk in love and unity to know the benefit of being His dwelling place. This is a key aspect of our worship. It does no good to stand beside a fellow believer on Sunday morning and sing if at other times I am engaged in strife with them. My singing will not bring His favour, my honouring my fellow believer will. Let’s have David’s passion for Yahweh’s dwelling place and see it demonstrated by walking in love and unity. Then we will see His manifest presence resting on us and expressed through us as His dwelling place on earth! We might call that what many of us regularly pray for, revival.