Dwelling Place (Psalm 84:1)
I love this Psalm so much that I could happily read it every day and use it for my prayers for myself, my friends and family! It’s about the journeying pilgrims longing to arrive at the temple, but it has so many lesson for us too as we make our journeys through life.
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.
Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.
The first four verses are all about how brilliant it is to be with God. The first verse reminds me that the place where God dwells – lives, resides, makes his home, is to be found – is a place of immense beauty and wonder.
Splendour and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his dwelling place.
(1 Chronicles 16:27)
I imagine the courts of heaven, filled with the dazzling light and love of God, any shadow or darkness or sadness chased away as each crack and crevice and corner rings with joy and peace and laughter and love. But we don’t have to wait for heaven to encounter the dwelling place of God. Jesus gave up that wonderful place of God’s residence to bring his presence physically here to earth.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
How great it would have been to meet Jesus and talk with him in person, see him do miracles that showed his command over nature, his bounteous generosity, and his compassionate desire to bring healing and wholeness. Wherever he went on earth, his presence brought the loveliness of God. Because of what Jesus has done in coming to earth, dying for us and rising again, God has made it possible for us to live in relationship with him, by his Spirit. The amazing thing is that now God dwells in us!
And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
How amazing it is – and how challenging it is – to know that God dwells in us. Because if God is dwelling in us, then our hearts should be becoming places of loveliness, inhabited by his Spirit and being changed by his presence. God’s presence is the best possible place to be!
Lord, thank you that you dwelt on earth in order that it might be possible for you to make your home in our hearts now and one day bring us to your perfect dwelling place in heaven. Please help me to honour you as Lord and King of my heart, and please help your loveliness to grow in me and flow from me to others who I know or love or simply make contact with during my day today. Amen.
Margaret is the mother of our regular contributor, Emma. She lives in Cambridge and is a member of Christ Church. She teaches English in one of the Cambridge schools.