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 meditate in His temple.”
As I was reading this Psalm in my devotion time I thought I’d post the Psalm on the site as a good word from the Lord for our circumstances we are living in. But as I kept reading over the words the Holy Spirit was encouraging me to expound on the verses. There is much within these verses that we need to extract and meditate on. So let’s begin our journey together.
I would imagine that anyone reading this has a deep desire in their heart to dwell with the Lord for eternity. But the question is, does our day to day life reflect this desire? Our words and our actions often are opposite. It all comes down to our relationship with the Lord. Is it intimate? Or is it more like a “casual” relationship where we touch base once in awhile?
Have you asked the LORD to behold His beauty? Do you desire to meditate in His temple? These two questions require time set apart, just the two of you. Maybe you desire it but haven’t gotten to the point of actually making time to pursue Him? When I think of beholding His glory, I think of Moses. Moses had two personal requests of God. They were key to why God chose Moses to lead the Israelites in the desert. Without this hunger, Moses would not have been chosen for this amazing task. What am I referring to? Both requests are actually found in the same passage. “Then Moses said to the LORD, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people!’ But You Yourself have not let me know whom You will send with me. Moreover, You have said, ‘I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.’ “therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people.” (Exodus 33:12-13) Do you hear Moses’ humility? He repeats what the Lord has said to him, back to Him, not because he thought God forgot what He said, but to affirm that he had heard what God said. When God speaks to you, do you ever stay in that place and get clarification or confirmation from the Lord, or do you run off while thinking how you are going to make this word come to pass?
So Moses repeats God’s words and then asks the Lord for the only thing that can bring victory to Moses’s life and to God’s plan. A relationship is NEVER a one way path! Moses is very humbled to know that he is so special to the Lord, he thought he had been forgotten. But just because God chose him for this assignment didn’t mean he was so special or so capable. No, it was because he was so broken! So now Moses is really acknowledging this emptiness in his heart. He is bowing down in spirit and asking God to reveal Himself so that His power alone is manifested. Unless we know God intimately we will never have a witness in us of what is right or wrong! Moses needed to know God’s character, His love, His judgments. But most of all he needed His presence! Moses knew the failure of moving ahead without God, so now he is submitting everything to God’s authority! He declares that the only way he will do this is if God goes with them. “And He said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14) ISN’T THAT WHAT OUR LORD TOLD US IN LUKE ABOUT BEING HIS DISCIPLE? Luke 14:33, "So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” WE GIVE OUR LORD AUTHORITY OVER ALL WE HAVE!
Some may be thinking that Moses was being obstinate or demanding, but that is not the case. Moses and God had a history. Moses had stepped out “in the name of God” twice but not in God’s blessing. Things didn’t go well for him and he ran for his life and spent 40 years in the desert thinking about his life. It sure wasn’t the life he thought he would have! So after 40 years he was broken. He was a man that God could now use!
The next request from Moses shows hunger to know God intimately! Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!” (Exodus 33:18) Moses was not asking so that he could brag that he saw God, he wanted to know Him so fully that he would not ever miss Him! God did something astonishing at this request. And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” Then the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. “Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.” (Exodus 33:19-23) Notice that God said “there is a place by Me”. “For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you” (1 Peter 1:20) “...keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3:1)
God was giving Moses the prophetic picture of Jesus Christ, the rock of our salvation. He symbolically placed him in Jesus (the cleft of the rock) while His glory passed by! Why is this important? When we are in an intimate relationship with the Lord we will be amazed at what He will grant us when we ask! This is the same truth that David knew! Like Moses, David was comfortable in his relationship with the Lord because HIS SPIRITUAL HEART WAS INTENSELY DIRECTED ON THE ONE HE LOVED! Psalm 16:5, “The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; Thou dost support my lot.” DEAR BELIEVER, WHAT IS YOUR PORTION IN YOUR TEMPORAL STAY ON THIS EARTH? And consider Jeremiah even in his extreme sadness over Israel’s rebellion against God. He declares in Lamentations 3:24, "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I have hope in Him."
I believe that we need to come to a foundational truth to actually understand the two questions asked earlier. Is our relationship intimate? Or is it more like a “casual” relationship where we touch base once in awhile? The foundational truth is that we are living in eternity from the moment we are reborn! “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;” (Philippians 3:20) When our citizenship in heaven is established (at the moment of our rebirth) our perspective must change or we will forever be unstable in our walk! (James 1:5-8) “for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.” (James 1:24)
David understood this truth and while he was not perfect, his desire was to be in alignment with the Lord. This psalm gives us great insight of what is required of us if we too are going to walk on this earth in unity with the Lord. As you read the following I hope you will allow the Holy Spirit to ask you two questions: 1) do you believe that the Holy Spirit lives in you and is active today, and 2) Yes, the Holy Spirit lives forever in your spirit BUT do you not want the Holy Spirit leading and filling you in your soul where we think, feel and make all your daily decisions?
Whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread?”
I hear many people asking God the question “Where are You?” when things are rough. But I seldom hear those same people praising the Lord or giving Him the glory when things seem to be going ok. And, unfortunately, never when they are hurting! Have they not read 2 Corinthians 4:6-10? “For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” Do they believe God’s word in Romans 8:28? “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Unfortunately, they probably do not know these scriptures because they often don’t have a hunger to run after the Lord and seek Him just to spend time loving on Him. Do you? Have you ever just set time apart and told God that you just want to be “with Him”? To just love on Him? To sing praises to Him? To worship Him just for who He is? Do you ever just thank Him for His hand upon your life? Thank Him for His blessings? Thank Him for the difficult things that He handles?
Loved ones, God is more interested in our relationship with Him than He is with our “public personality”. The following scripture impacted me greatly several years ago and one that I try to live up to. But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) Charismatic words, expensive clothing, power and position - none of that is important to God. Yes, if our hearts are right before Him we may be blessed with some or all of the above, but they are “gifts” bestowed on us from above as a blessing. We are not awarded gold stars for performance. Awards and recognition are not the prize. The Apostle Paul tells us what the prize really is, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) Oh loved ones, can you imagine that glorious day when we will be given crowns for our obedience of love of the commands of the Lord and we will take those crowns and lay them back at the feet of Jesus? (Go to the Song of Solomon Devotional Love Notes heading and then Crowns and Thorns for a short study on the crowns! I promise you that you will be enlightened and blessed!)
So let’s look at verse 1 in the 27th Psalm and see what insight the Holy Spirit shares with us. Let me first say that throughout David’s writing, he is very specific in the words he uses to reference God. Here he begins with “Lord” which is Almighty God the Creator, YHWH, Jehovah, the one true existing One, the proper name for God, the name that was not even spoken by those who worshipped Him! This beginning invites us into the intimate relationship which was between the Lord and David. David was bowed down in spirit and flesh.
I don’t know about you but I am challenged already by the first two words in this verse. Is my relationship always that intimate with the Lord? Am I submersed in His word so that He is reflected in my life? I am so thankful that God is faithful even when we may not be! “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24) So, yes, He is always there and ready to help! “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) And I am so thankful!
David then declares that the LORD is his light and salvation. The word “light” means an illumination from the heavens in this passage. What a wonderful perspective to remind us that all we need to do is look up and see God’s handiwork and be reminded of His majesty! “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” (Psalm 19:1) “And the heavens declare His righteousness, for God Himself is judge.” Selah. (Psalm 50:6) As we begin to declare His majesty He begins to give us His heavenly perspective of our situation! What a privilege to be in God’s family! Scripture tells us, “For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16) (also read 1 John 2:20,27) In Isaiah 40:13 we are asked a very important question. “Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, or as His counselor has informed Him?” David was very familiar with this passage and I believe that as he looked up into the heavens he was reminded that God was sovereign and had everything under control, so David understood that He would guide his footsteps.
When David declares that God is his salvation he is declaring that he is firmly in God’s hand because he understood the covenant was made by God and could not be broken. “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19) There is something else here that shows why it is so important to understand the words being used in the text. The word for salvation is “yesha” (spelling can vary based on the dictionary or concordance). What is the Jewish name for Jesus? Yeshua!
We, like David, need to have an eternal perspective! He asks, rhetorically, who he has to fear. It really is a declaration of praise! I picture him shouting out to the heavens, “Whom shall I fear?” The verse that comes to mind for me is, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31) Can’t you just hear him answer his own question? “The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?” I can just imagine David having a worship service with an audience of One, the One he loved with all his heart!
I want you to notice, as we continue, that David is in the midst of his struggles. He was in a battle for his life, but the host of heaven was there with him! 2 “When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. 3 Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war arise against me, in spite of this I shall be confident.” The heart is the seat of all of our emotions. When we allow it to control our thoughts and actions we are unstable in all of our ways, (“The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?”) (Jeremiah 17:9) but when we have our mind set on the Lord we will still have peace (confidence in our position in the Lord) and joy in our heart! “Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but counselors of peace have joy.” (Proverbs 12:20)
So the following verse is the outcome of David’s heart. He isn’t seeking God as a “safety zone” or just a shelter from harm. Even though God is our very shelter. But He is much more! And when we begin to have an eternal perspective of God, we begin seeing, hearing and understanding with a heavenly mind. We begin to see things as the Holy Spirit sees them! Even when we can’t see the outcome we can hear Him say it will be alright and be at peace no matter what it may look like in the physical. Again, carefully read 2 Corinthians 4:6-10 again. As David knew, God has a special purpose for everything He allows to take place in our lives. These verses in Corinthians show us how He really causes His light within us to shine out to others even through enemy attacks.
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 meditate in His temple.”
I don’t think it’s coincidental that the Lord is drawing me to this psalm at this time. I’ve been asking God a lot of questions about the future. I don’t want to be flippant and not be prepared in ways that God wants to prepare me, yet I don’t want to map out a plan for survival that is of my own doing! Can you relate? I long to be with the Lord and am ready to go home to be with Him, but yet I find it easy to ponder on different scenarios that I know I cannot navigate in my own power. The only real comfort is that I know that God doesn’t give us the grace to walk out future circumstances until that circumstance is manifested. He clearly told the Apostle Paul, And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) I cling to the Rock that is “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;” (Isaiah 46:10) What will be the result of this trust? Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.” (Revelation 21:6) I will literally be present with the Lord! Praise His Holy Name!
Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice, and be gracious to me and answer me. When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.” (Psalm 27:7-8)
Isn’t this the result of meditating in His temple? Isn’t that really what we are seeking...to be with Him all the days of our life? But do our words match our actions? I’m not talking perfect...we aren’t perfect yet, but there is a difference between real hunger and seeking and just mouthing the words. Do we seek Him for direction before making decisions? Do we seek Him to test us to see if we are walking in alignment with what He directs in His holy Word? Or do we read the scriptures with the mindset of allowing the Word to reveal if we have allowed sin to enter? Are we consumed by other things and then say we don’t have time to spend with Him? Do we go to Him only to get us out of a situation that is unpleasant, or maybe when we have committed a sin and now are facing the consequences?
David realized a great truth and is sharing it with us in these next verses. Jesus warned us that the time will come when family members will betray each other and give them over to be killed because they are believers. However, ever since sin entered into the world, man has been betraying one another and causing great pain. David knew this pain. I would venture to say that most of you know this pain in one form or another. We all, unfortunately, hurt one another at times even when we don’t intend to. That is why it is so important to be in relationship with the Lord. We will easily be convicted and can run into His arms to be restored! But God is the ONLY One who will never leave us or desert us! (Psalm 94:14; Hebrews 13:5; Deuteronomy 31:6,8)
“Do not hide Your face from me, do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation! For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me up.” (v 9-10)
“Teach me Your way, O LORD, and lead me in a level path because of my foes.” (v 11) I hear the heart of one who fears to hurt the One they love. David is asking God to hold him steady that he does not do anything that will bring a bad testimony or shame upon the Lord. I honestly have to say that I do not think I have ever heard it preached how our actions make such a public statement that reflect on the Lord. That really is why the unsaved world calls believers “hypocrites”. Think about it. Again, it requires taking our eyes off of ourselves and keeping them on the Lord and realizing that everything we do and say is a reflection of His life in us. That is challenging. I ask you, what do others see in you? That is a question I often need to ask the Lord about my life.
“Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breathe out violence. I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” (v-12-13) David had eternal perspective. He knew that this world wasn’t all there was. That’s a challenge for every one of us. David had a large army of men trying to kill him. Every day we face challenges and dangers. Without our focus on God’s eternal perspective and desire for why we are on this earth, we could become easily discouraged. So what do we do? We do exactly what David has penned. And he has summed it all very well in the following verse. God’s timing is always perfect, He’s never early and He’s never late!
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the LORD.” (v 14)