August 19, 2009

The Dwelling Place of God

Solomon lifted his hands to heaven and said, "O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart, the covenant that you kept for your servant my father David as you declared to him; you promised with your mouth and have this day fulfilled with your hand... Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built! Regard your servant's prayer and his plea, O LORD my God, heeding the cry and the prayer that your servant prays to you today; that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you said, `My name shall be there,' that you may heed the prayer that your servant prays toward this place. Hear the plea of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place; O hear in heaven your dwelling place; heed and forgive. Likewise when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a distant land because of your name -- for they shall hear of your great name, your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm-- when a foreigner comes and prays toward this house, then hear in heaven your dwelling place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and so that they may know that your name has been invoked on this house that I have built.” - 1 Kings 8

"For one day in your courts is better than a thousand in my own room, *and to stand at the threshold of the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of the wicked." Psalm 84.9

God is not contained within the four walls of the nave of St. Paul's in Foley, but God is here. God is not in the glorious Live Oaks that stand statuesque along our streets and rivers, but God is there.

Solomon was indeed wise. He knew enough to say, "God, I know you can't be contained here, but please, please, please make your presence known here so that we, your chosen people, can fulifll the covenant and be a light to the nations." No matter where God resides, the psalmist has it right, it is better to spend just one day in the presence of the Almighty than a thousand (or a hundred thousand) anywhere else. It is, honestly, better to stand even at the threshold of God's house than anywhere else. Today, as thunder rolls in the distance and the right-of-way-mower-goes buzz around our campus, I'm acutely aware that God's presence is here, and I'm going to do my best to sit here and soak it in.

Thank you Father for deigning to make yourself known on earth. Fill me, refresh me, and prepare me for another day in your court, another day in your service. To your honor and glory. Amen.

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