The House Of God
  By Dave Butts

    "One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what 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" (Psalm 27:4).

    Psalm 27:4 is the request of David that the Lord would allow him to dwell in Godís house all the days of his life. David even tells God why he wants to do this, expressing his desire that, from Godís house, he be allowed to gaze upon the Lordís beauty and to seek Him in His temple. I pray the request of Psalm 27:4 daily, and often end up asking the Lord to show me what it means to live in His house. "Lord, I want to experience fully what it means to dwell with You."

    Iím convinced that it will take most of eternity to completely understand this amazing request that David made before God, but there are some things that I am learning about making this request my own. The first is that David was not just talking about living in Godís house some day in heaven. Although eternity is implied in the request, the phrase, "all the days of my life" begins nowÖin this life.

    In a way that David and others down through history have understood, the house of God is both a destination and a journey. We long for eternity and the security and joy of our heavenly home. But in a way that is still unfolding for every believer, the Lord has invited us to come into His house now.

    David also understood that the house of God was not just the tabernacle or the temple that was soon to be built. It was Solomon, his son, who voiced their awareness of this fact: "But will God really dwell on earth with men? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain You. How much less this temple I have built!" (2 Chron. 6:18). The dwelling place of God is far more than a building made by human hands.

    Ultimately, when we speak of the house of God we speak of His abiding Presence. This means that there is no contradiction in the fact that we can think of going to the house of God someday in heaven, and yet, even now He has come to dwell in us, making our very bodies His temple.

    The Bible points out that we, both as individuals and as the Church, have become the dwelling place of God on earth. Jesus made it very clear when He said, "If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him" (John 14:23). The question for each of us today is, "Has God been made welcome in your house?" As we grow in our love for God, demonstrated through a life of obedience to His Word, we spread out the welcome mat for the Father and Son through the Holy Spirit to come and make themselves at home in us. What a wonderful lifestyle of intimacy with God! That is what the Christian life is intended to be for every one of us.

    Our faith is not a matter of attending meetings or keeping rules. It is a life of dwelling with God, experiencing His Presence, and living a life that reflects His nature in us. Thatís why the image of dwelling in His temple is so pervasive in Scripture. Whether it is the Old Testament perception of going to the temple, or the New Testament concept of us becoming the temple, it all comes down to the Presence of God.

    The following passages of Scripture help us see the importance placed on becoming the dwelling place (temple) of God:

    ē"Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27).

    ē"Donít you know that you yourselves are Godís temple and that Godís Spirit lives in you?" (1 Cor. 3:16).

    ē"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?" (1 Cor. 6:19).

    ē"For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ĎI will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My peopleí" (2 Cor. 6:16).

    ē"In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit" (Eph. 2:21-22).

    Learning to dwell in the Lordís Presence will mean many good things for us, but probably one of the most important benefits is answered prayer. Jesus told us, "If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you" (John 15:7). The word "remain" is often translated "abide," or "dwell." Jesus teaches us that if we live where He is, our prayers will emanate from Him and will line up with His desires, which pleases the Father who wants to answer our prayers. What an amazing privilege!

    David and the rest of the Old Testament saints would be amazed at the awesome privilege given to every Christian today. We are invited to dwell in the Lordís Presence continually! We donít have to go to a special building or place. We can pray without ceasing because our God has come to dwell within us. For believers in Jesus, the promise truly is: "Christ in us, the hope of glory."

    Davidís prayer in Psalm 27:4 could perhaps be prayed this way, "Lord, thereís only one thing that I really want from You. Itís not fame or money or power. What I really want is You! I want to be where You are. I want to live always in Your presence so that I might gaze upon Your beauty without ceasing. Give me a heart that continually seeks You where You might be found."

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