“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!” (Psalm 84:1)
Today I am looking for a refuge from all the things that are causing me turmoil. That it is not an actual physical place is alright. My trust in the Lord is secure enough that I believe their will an end to this “tunnel” and there will be light there – the light of the Lord. So I am content and secure in the spiritual dwelling place that the Lord of hosts has prepared for me, and for you beloved reader.
“My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.
Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise. Selah
Happy are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.” (Verses 2 – 6)
Not every one has a dwelling place; neither a physical one nor a spiritual one. Some have one but not the other. And it is not for me to say which is more necessary for the human spirit. Of course, it is best to have both. And it is a sign of a righteous nation that each person is assured both, and that each person can feel safe in both dwelling places. And if that is not that is not the case, beloved reader, that nation should not claim to be fully and completely righteous.
“They go from strength to strength; the God of gods will be seen in Zion.” (Verse 7)
There is in the human spirit a strength and resiliency that sustains us when safe and welcoming dwelling places of both types are not available. If that is not the case, beloved reader, then we have failed in our relationships to humanity.
“O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob!Selah
Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed. For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than live in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts, happy is everyone who trusts in you.” (Verses 8-12)
This psalm is cited for the celebration of the Presentation of the Lord. It celebrates not the infant Jesus held in his mother’s arms and protected by his earthly father. It looks forward to the day when Jesus has come into his ministry and wields the power that the Lord of Hosts has given him. Just as that day was not culmination of what Jesus would become, our day is not the culmination of what the Lord of Hosts has prepared for us.
“The Lord is king; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
The Lord is great in Zion; he is exalted over all the peoples. Let them praise your great and awesome name. Holy is he! Mighty King, lover of justice, you have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.
Extol the Lord our God; worship at his footstool. Holy is he!
Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel also was among those who called on his name. They cried to the Lord, and he answered them. He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud; they kept his decrees, and the statutes that he gave them.
O Lord our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
Extol the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy. (Psalm 99)
This psalm has the flavor and earmarking of a celebration of the Transfiguration. We have Moses mentioned, and a foreshadowing of Elijah. And a call to worship God on the Lord’s holy mountain. It is all there beloved reader. But as I said above, it is there – but not necessarily here with us. Where is the geographical location of God’s holy mountain today? In the time of the psalmist it could be pointed to. Who is there now that stands out as God’s priest, one who is accepted by all people as a priest of God? Our faith is so divided that different people could be named.
We do not live in the same world as the psalmist. But we can look to the psalms as a memory and history of how faith once was. And a promise of a time to come when all people and all faiths will be brought together. Until we must deal gently and lovingly with one another, confessing our sins and making amends for where we have gone wrong. Let us now enter a time of Lent, and look towards remembering again of where our forgiveness and salvation comes from. Selah!