“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.” Psalm 84:1-2
When was the last time that you could honestly say that you longed, yearned, even fainted for the dwelling place of God? When was the last time that you hungered for God’s presence in such a deep way like the psalmist is here? When the psalmist wrote this psalm, he was forced to gather in the temple of God. He did not have the privilege like we do to enter God’s presence wherever we desire. He did not have the honor and joy of seeking God from the comfort of His home or from the cozy corner of a coffee shop. He had to make a point to leave his home, enter the temple, and make sacrifices to cleanse himself just to experience the presence of God.
The Hebrew word for “dwelling place” used here actually comes from a root word that means, “to settle down, abide, dwell, tabernacle; reside.” David was referring to the tabernacle, but for us, it is so much more. We are now the temple of the Holy Spirit. God is to dwell inside of us. God’s presence is all around us, but most importantly, it should be in us. So, when I read Psalm 84, it said to me, “How lovely it is to reside in your presence, to abide in you, to live and dwell with you!” It is so much more than church on Sunday!
I love that I can sit in a coffee shop with my music blaring in my ear buds and sense God’s presence around me. I can lay in bed and worship, and God’s presence surrounds me. In all things we do, God is there. Just begin to wrap your mind around that concept. God longs to dwell in everything you do. He longs to dwell, reside, abide in all you say, and do, and are. The God of the universe wants His presence to reside with me?!
I find that the common misconception about God’s presence is that we must feel it, that we must experience it. The truth is that His presence already exists all around us and in us. His presence is in the still small voice that whispers, “I love you,” to the depths of your soul. It is in the perfect peace that floods your chaos even for a moment. It is in the unspeakable joy that causes you to smile even when life is being a punk. His presence is in the reading of His living Word. It is in the tears of repentance followed by the warmth of grace. It is in the majestic mountains, the rushing rivers, and the gentle spring rains. It is in the flow of seasons, each sunrise and sunset, and in every twinkling star. Psalms 139 says it this way, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me; your right hand will hold me fast.” The question isn’t whether we are in God’s presence, it is if we are letting Him make His presence known to us.
My challenge to you is to see God’s presence around you, not just feel it. My challenge is for you to ask God to show you how he is dwelling in the situations around you. Ask him to reside, dwell, abide in you in a new and intimate way. Rejoice in it all. Rejoice that the God of the universe is longing after YOU, and then reciprocate it. Pursue Him with all you are that you may know He dwells in you, with you, and for you.
Verses for further study:
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
John 15:5-8 (AMP)
A sample prayer (my prayer today):
There is nothing I desire more than Your presence to fill my life, Lord. I want to hear Your voice more. I want to hunger for You more. I want to want You deeper than ever before. Give me that deep longing to reside, abide, and dwell in Your presence daily. I want to be so deeply in love, in deep dependence on Your presence that I literally cannot go without it. I want to crave your presence in my life, even when I have already felt it in the morning, noon, and night. I want You more, Lord. I want You more.