Learning To Dwell (Psalm 84:4)
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.
It is such an amazing privilege to know God. To think that we can be in personal relationship with the creator of the Universe, the inventor of the atom, the sustainer of all life, is absolutely overwhelming in itself, but even more so when we think that God wants to be in a personal, loving relationship with us. It matters to Him whether or not we love him. How amazing! And this almighty, all-knowing, all-powerful God invites us to make our home with him, to dwell with him!
I love the word ‘dwell’: it has a sense of putting down roots, of settling in, of permanence.
I really want to dwell in God’s house, but if I’m honest sometimes I rush in to God’s presence and rush out again as if I am in a terrible hurry, as if everything else is more important, of greater significance to me. I’m a bit like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland rushing about purposelessly saying, ‘O dear! O dear! I shall be too late...’
I want to learn to dwell with God - rather than flit in and flit out.
Of course, in one sense, we all do dwell in his presence whether we admit it and live it or not – that is the reality of the world that we inhabit – but acknowledging that reality by praying and revelling in his loving presence, brings light and gladness to our innermost beings. No wonder that those who dwell with God praise him!
Properly dwelling in his house means spending time focussing on who he really is – and the more time we meditate on him, consciously in his presence, the more we get to know him, and the more we will want to praise him.
Dwelling in his house means seeing this world as his palace and enthroning him as its Lord; it means seeing our own lives as the place where he reigns and rules, rather than acting the king in the tiny little ‘kingdom of me’. It means joining with others who know and love him to praise him and worship him. It means living my life each day as a joyful, grateful, humble servant of a most excellent Lord.
If we dwell in God’s house we will be blessed indeed!
Lord God, help me day by day to put my roots deeper into you. Help me to live out the reality that this world is yours, your presence is everywhere, your love is unfailing, and you are King. Thank you for making it possible for us to dwell in your presence, and please help me actually to do that more and more fully every day of my life. 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.