Where Will You Be, Forever?


In this passage, James MacDonald breaks down and gives insight to Psalm 23.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever—Psalm 23:6.

To help us understand what King David meant when he said, “I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever,” we need to consider the story of his life.

The official place of worship was still the old tabernacle, dating from the time of Moses. When David set up his capital in Jerusalem, he was bothered about living in a house of cedar while “the ark of God dwells in a tent” (2 Samuel 7:1). David decided to build a temple for the Lord. But God's response to the king was, in essence, “No, you won't.”

David’s intentions were meant to be honoring. He may have been thinking, But I wrote all these psalms, and I’ve got the perfect piece of land. I have a vision for a place where we can sing and worship! However, God made it clear that it wasn’t David’s idea He was rejecting—it was David’s role as a warrior that made him unsuitable as the Temple builder. In God’s plan, David’s son Solomon would build the house for His glory.

Imagine the disappointment—God's chosen king, unable to build a house for his Lord. “But the Lord said to David my father, ‘Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart’” (1 Kings 8:18). In His response to David, God revealed a phenomenal principle about the way He views our intentions and our actions.

Who hasn’t envisioned some good things God might do with their life? Yet how often do some of those righteous things you want to accomplish not happen? Hear this: God is pleased “that it was in your heart.”

With that backdrop, now consider what David was saying in verse 6: This life is so short. Ultimately, I shall dwell in house of the Lord forever. I might not get to build the temporary Temple on earth, but I’m moving into the permanent one in heaven someday. When they start singing my songs, I’ll be in the front row. I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Look at David's confidence as He declares, I shall dwell.” David understood this was not a temporary visit, but that he would be at home “in the house of the Lord.” He knew he was moving into what Jesus called, “My Father’s house” (see John 14:2). The Bible gives us many clues about heaven, and they all add up to this great idea: We’re going home! We will finally be where we were designed to spend eternity.

Heaven was made for God's children, and we were made for it. What Revelation calls "a new heaven and a new earth" (21:1) isn’t some alternative plan God worked out when humans fell into sin. Heaven was the plan and destination for believers all along.

This last word is the best word in the whole psalm: “Forever.” Life on earth is short, and the deadline is coming fast. Eternity is racing upon us. Soon the clock will stop, and time shall be no more. As John Newton's old hymn says so beautifully, “When we’ve been there ten thousand years… we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we'd first begun.”

If you have received Jesus’ forgiveness and embraced Him by Faith, you too can declare like David, “I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever”!


  • When you think about heaven, what are you anticipating the most? Why?
  • How would you describe the reason for your confidence about forever? 


Father, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You—just as David’s dream about the Temple was, though it wasn’t Your plan for him to build it. Direct my thoughts to what You may be leading me to do. Help me be willing to pursue Your call wherever it leads, right up to the moment I go to dwell in Your house forever! In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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