When God created Adam and Eve, they enjoyed living in the Garden of Eden in the presence of God. But, with the Fall into sin, God expelled them from the Garden, from his very presence. God’s presence continued to be among his people, Israel. The Ark of the Covenant was kept in the tabernacle. Only certain people were allowed to experience God’s presence.
Exodus 33 tells how Moses went into God’s presence in the tent of meeting, but the people remained in their own tents and worshipped God from afar.
In this Psalm, David sings of the pleasure it is to be in God’s presence. He is envious of the sparrow who makes its dwelling in the tabernacle. David acknowledges that it is God's presence that carries the sojourner through the Valley of Baka or "weeping." It is God's presence that gives them strength to make the journey and arrive before God in His holy city.
With the coming of Jesus, the person of God, Emmanuel, walked among the first-century Jews. With Jesus’ death, the veil of the temple was split, opening the Holy of Holies where God’s presence dwelt, to all people. After Jesus was resurrected, he told his disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit. The Father and the resurrected Son sent the Holy Spirit into the world to be God’s presence among us.
Like David in this Psalm, we can experience the presence of God today--and one day in his presence is better than thousands elsewhere. But nothing can compare to the fullness of God we will experience in the New Jerusalem. We live to experience Him as much as we can but we long for the day that we will be with him. That longing should shape how we live today and every day.
REJOICE in His presence today!
Make an altar of wherever you are and worship Him.
1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
2 My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.
5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
8 Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty;
listen to me, God of Jacob.
9 Look on our shield, O God;
look with favor on your anointed one.
10 Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
12 Lord Almighty,
blessed is the one who trusts in you.