Dwelling in the Praises

Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. (Psalm 22:3-5)

enthroned: to put on a throne; to raise to a lofty position

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with him as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerer, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:1-8)

dwell: live in or at a specified place, reside

Wait, WHAT?!? The one who is on the throne has chosen to RESIDE with PEOPLE. Traditionally, by the world’s standards and what we have seen in history, people who sit on THRONES typically don’t hang out with the peasants (every day, average people like me).

But GOD, wanted his throne, the place where he sits and dwells, to be right in the midst of the people. And the CRAZY part is that IT IS DONE. We can sit and talk with God. We can reside with Him. What is even better? IT IS FREE. All we have to do is realize we are thirsty and RECEIVE the water of life without payment.

The Gospel is so simple. And in his never ending love for us, he lets us choose what we want in life. To dwell with him in a place that will one day have no more suffering and pain, or to choose be separated from him forever. These verses from Revelation talk about the consequences of this choice after we die, but in Psalms, David addressed the here and now and how of dwelling with God.

Don’t forget, this was the Old Testament (ya know, before Jesus, when they had to sacrifice animals to pay for their sins and only ONE person could enter the holy place (holy=set apart, sacred, different) ONE time per year). Yet David said: GOD IS ENTHRONED ON THE PRAISES OF HIS PEOPLE. We don’t have to wait to dwell with Him, to know Him. That privilege and inheritance starts the moment we choose to put him on the throne of our lives. The key to experiencing this on a daily basis comes through praise.

I don’t know about you, but for me, this is much easier to accept in my head, than it is to believe in my heart or live out with my actions. Example: My day did not start off anything like I planned (I mean hey, it’s day 2 of being 25, I have big things to do ;). My anxiety was rising. All I wanted to do was share my struggle with someone else. (AKA complaining). Seriously though, I typed the same message to my roommate 15 different ways before I finally deleted it all and just said “Hey, I’m on the way. See you whenever you get there.”

I was SO tempted to skip spending time with Jesus and dive into my to do list. It’s always growing and probably always will be. My brain started racing: I mean, I already know God so I don’t have to actually spend time with Him today right? I can always spend time with Him later. I can just pray and focus on some of the Bible verses that I already know and everything will be fine. I have the Holy Spirit. I got this.

But the words of my mentor popped into my head: “There are plenty of days when we don’t always feel like we desperately need Jesus, but we do.” Today was one of the days where I chose to be aware of that desperation. I pulled out my Bible and opened it to Psalm 22. A few months ago I wrote (when I was going through a season of learning not to complain) I wrote “dwelling in the praises” in the margin by verse three. I had a choice to make. Do I want to just remember what God spoke to me a few months and move on with my day or do I want to ask Him to show me something new and what to see what happened? Thanks to those wise words of my mentor I decided to press in a little deeper and here’s what I found.

Lets look at the context of those first few verses of Psalm 22:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. (Psalm 22:1-2)

But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” (Psalm 22:6-8)

David is walking through an extremely difficult time. I don’t know about you, but David definitely responded to this situation differently than I would have. My first instinct when I am going through a sucky time or I don’t like my circumstances is to suck it up, pretend like nothing is going on and keep pushing forward. The second: complain.

David knew he could be completely vulnerable with God (I mean let’s be honest, he refers to himself as a WORM). Man, I wish that was as easy for me as it was for him. I tend to stick to Adam and Eve’s response in garden (run and hide).

And then, right in the middle of this crazy story, David stops to PRAISE God. “Yet you are holy…” He stops to remember God’s faithfulness to his people: “They trusted and you delivered them…they cried and you rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.”

MIND BLOWN. WHAT?!?

Never in a million years, would I have come up with the idea that the creator of the universe, who already knows the intimacy of a perfect loving relationship within himself (and can speak crazy, beautiful things into existence – I mean have you seen nature lately?!?), would create a species of people to be in relationship with Him and know the goodness and love that He is. And then, after they choose to reject Him, He comes down to earth, is rejected over and over again, yet He STILL chooses to give up his LIFE and separate the bond of the perfect relationship they have had for all of eternity. ALL FOR YOU AND ME! It was worth it to Jesus for him to be separated from God the Father so that we could also experience the love and intimacy they shared.

So that this could be fulfilled: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with him as their God.” 

& y’all, Jesus is sooooo good. I have found nothing sweeter than just dwelling with the maker of my soul. I chose to seek Him today instead of doing what comes most naturally and I received the most amazing reward: Him. He met me right there. At the corner table of a little cafe. I didn’t just read about God dwelling with other people, but I experienced Him dwelling with me. And that is more than I could ever ask for.

 

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