The Best Place
What's the best place to live? The U.N.'s annual Human Development Report surveys countries by economy, literacy level, life expectancy, etc., and then ranks them. For 2009 it says the best place to live is Norway, followed by Australia, Iceland, and Canada; the U.S. comes in at number 13. The best place is subjective. I might say California, and you might say Greece or Barbados.
David's perspective on the best place was different. "One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock" (Psalm 27:4-5).
Of course, he wasn't talking about literally living in the temple. It's a word picture that speaks about getting so close to God that it's almost like bringing in a sleeping bag and living there. It speaks about a constant, living, ongoing communion with God. He meant that he wanted to continually be in God's presence, to seek the Lord, to hear from the Lord, and to receive the protection of the Lord.
David wrote this psalm during some time of trouble in his life. It might have been when Saul was chasing him, or when Absalom had seized his throne and he was on the run. But he knew the best place to be.
Dwelling in the house of the Lord creates confidence in God (Psalm 27:1-3, 13). It fosters a reverence for God (v. 4-7). It brings about obedience to God (v. 8-12). And it encourages us to wait upon God with expectance (v. 14).
A Christian told about going to a church in Iraq one Sunday during the war. The people were reciting the Lord's Prayer and just as they finished the words "deliver us from evil," they heard an explosion not far away. One man said that at the start of the war the people felt worn down by fear, but as they felt God speaking to them, their strength returned and they felt stronger than they did before the war started.
That's a great example of what it means to dwell in the house of the Lord. No matter what our circumstances, from the dangers of war to a life of ease and tranquility, we should realize that the best place to be is close to God.
"And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever" (Psalm 23:6).
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