“How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord.
With my whole being, body and soul,
I will shout joyfully to the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow builds her nest and
raises her young at a place near your altar,
O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God!
What joy for those who can live in your house,
always singing your praises.”
Psalms 84:1-4 NLT
In a sinful and war-torn world, there is something reassuring about being in God’s presence. The mayhem of the last Psalm, Psalm 83, is displaced by a totally different world, where the presence of God fills all space. Because where God has His home, we will find rest and peace, love and acceptance. And the wonderful thing is that the doors to His house are wide open. Anyone can enter through the blood of Jesus into His presence and find Him there. In His home we will find a place of protection, a place of spiritual wholeness, a place of singing, a place of joy, a place of love, a place where we can relax and just enjoy Him. The birds of the air, without even thinking about it, camp there, going about their lives without fretting over the cares of life. And so must we. I’m writing this piece on a Sunday morning, with thoughts of anticipation about what God is going to do through His people, through His presence, in the lives of His people, as we go to church, as we come into His place. Yes, I know it’s just a building. There may of may not be an altar there. But God is everywhere through His presence, and wherever we are, we can enjoy Him. We might be heading for an ornate building filled with pews and stained glass windows, or just simply kneeling down beside a prison bed. We might be sitting in a chair, unable to move far anymore because of illness or infirmity. We might be walking across the Scottish Highlands, listening to the wind and the occasional bird call. Wherever we are though, we can be transported into God’s home. Finding the door into His heart wide open.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism starts by asking the question about what the chief end of man is. And the answer is to enjoy Him forever. What an invitation – that we in our frail human state, can come into the presence of God and enjoy Him forever. Let’s reach out this morning to each other as we run into His presence, holding hands of love and fellowship, enjoying His presence.