There is a little space between the back of our house and the tree covered hill which slopes away toward a valley on the North. The fresh green leaves of the aspens whisper their praises in the light breeze, and the beauty of a mature clump of white birch continues to delight us. Occasionally, on a calm pleasant evening, David and I will eat our supper there, sitting on our lawn swing.
Towering above the delphiniums, flower pots and garden clock is a bird feeder in the form of a church building – steeple and all. We have often watched the birds feed there, especially during the snowy winter days when otherwise food can be scarce.
This year, we watched as a pair of small birds, possibly a type of wood sparrow, worked very hard at hauling in twigs and other nest-building materials. It was sometimes a challenge for them to get some of the longer grasses through the opening. But they persevered until it seemed that the “church” must be quite full.
We wondered for a few days whether they might have given up on the project. But, one evening, as we sat on our lawn swing eating our supper, we noticed quite a bit of chirping that seemed to come from the area of the bird-church. Then we noticed one of the birds continually flying away, only to return with something in its beak. When one delivery proved to be a wiggly worm, we realized that the chirping came from a family of baby birds crying for their supper.
The whole scene brought to mind again the beautiful passage of Scripture found in the 84th Psalm:
“How amiable are Your tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Yes, the sparrow has found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in Your house; they will be still praising You.”
We like to sing a little different version of these verses:
How lovely are Thy dwelling-places
My soul longs for the courts of the Lord.
My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God,
You are my King and my God.
What are His dwelling-places? There was a time when God dwelt in the Holiest Place in the Tabernacle in the Wilderness; then in the Temple built by King Solomon; then in the Tabernacle of David. Solomon himself questioned where God would dwell on the earth. He declared that the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain God; how much less the temple that he had built, though it was a great building built for a “God above all gods.” (1 Kings 8:27; 2 Chron. 2:6;6:18)
In the Apostle Stephen’s famous oratory, he declared that, although Solomon had built Him a most magnificent and costly house, “Howbeit the Most High dwells not in temples made with hands, as said the prophet, ‘Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool. What house will you build me? Says the Lord; or what is the place of My rest? Has not My hand made all these things?’” (Acts 7:47-50)
Again and again, God’s place of dwelling was questioned. God Himself asks the question: “Thus says the Lord, ‘The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you build for Me? And where is the place of My rest? For all those things has My hands made, and all those things have been, says the Lord; BUT to this one will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at My Word.” (Isa. 66:1,2)
So again, the question presents itself: “What are His dwelling-places?
I believe the question is answered in the 132nd Psalm: “For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. ‘This is my rest forever; here will I dwell, for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her poor with bread. I will also clothe her priests with salvation, and her saints shall shout aloud for joy.’ ” (Ps. 132:13-16)
Zechariah prophesied concerning this day: “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for lo, I come, and I will dwell in your midst, says the Lord. And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be My people, and I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me unto you.” (Zech. 2:10,11)
As quoted in a previous letter (His Dwelling Places), the New Covenant “Zion” is a God-made place built with “living stones, built together for a DWELLING PLACE OF GOD through the Spirit.” (1 Peter 2:5)
Paul also makes it very clear that the children of God, through our birth in the Spirit, are, indeed, the temples in which He dwells: “Do you not know that YOU are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in YOU? …..for the temple of God is holy, which temple YOU ARE!” And so it is, as Paul said, “Christ in YOU, the HOPE of Glory.” (John 3:5; 1 Cor. 3:16,17)
Is this what David in that 84th Psalm was prophetically longing for? He may not have understood it all, but was there a prophetic longing in his spirit for the ultimate mutual dwelling for both God and His people – in a totality of oneness? He in us, and we in Him?
Again, we have the beautiful New Covenant truth that there is a mutual dwelling:
Christ in You, the hope of Glory, and
you in Christ Jesus, your position in the Spirit realm..
(Gal. 2:20; Col. 1:27; 1 Cor. 1:2, 30; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:6)
“May God, the giver of HOPE,fill you with continual joy and peace because you trust in Him—
so that you may have abundant HOPE
through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
(Romans 15:13 Weymouth)
In Agape, Eulene