The Living God
Jerry A Collins
Is there any advantage that accompany one who is in touch with God? If so, what are these? The word Selah, meaning think of that, marks off the sections of this Psalm which tell us to pause and think of what has just been said. What we are to pause and consider first of all is that
1. THERE ARE ADVANTAGES OF LIFE WITH GOD 1-4
We could number many of these for our lives but the writer focuses on at least two major advantages we have in a life with God.
(1) God is at home within His people 1-2
When these people talked about the dwelling places of God they meant the Temple, the building in Jerusalem where Gods personal glory was manifest. In the holy of holies within the Temple was a strange and mysterious light that marked the presence of God for the people. No one was permitted in there except once a year the high priest entered under rigorous ritual. So people of Israel could not physically be in Gods presence and had to enter in their heart and minds through the sacrifices they offered at the altar. They entered then in spirit into the holy of holies and this is what he is singing about here. The writer says there are three things that mark his experience of God being at home within him.
a. There is an inner beauty that God creates by his presence 1
The place where God lives, the heart where God dwells becomes a lovely place, a beautiful spot. Ephesians 3:17 Paul prays that Christ may make his home in your hearts by faith because that heart will then always be a lovely place. That lovely place will turn you into a lovely person. God is in the business of transforming you into a new person. He is not modifying the old one. Your old one will never change. But the new nature you possess can take over and change your life. When God is present, He brings beauty in its truest sense.
b. God creates a compelling hunger that only God satisfies 2a
To yearn for the temple meant to long for the living God Himself. In that day people could approach God through the temple priests. The more of God you understand the more understanding you want. We are not here talking as if we can get to a point of understanding that will satisfy us here but of a longing to gain more than I have gotten again and again.
c. Godís presence produces a joyful vitality of life 2b
This is not some artificial presence he is referring too. It is not something put on like a mask. He yearns both with his heart and body for God. This is a vital relationship and it is marked by joyfulness. There is nothing tedious about a life where God is at home. Where the welcome mat has been put out for Him. It is when we shut the door of our lives to him that our lives become tedious, jaded, boring and aimless. I can become a Christian and not be the Christian I have become and only a life where God is at home will make us such in this way.
(2) Contentment is ours when God is at home within us 3-4
Yearning for God and His Temple the writer notes the enviable position of those in it.
(a) The nesting birds there are content 3
First the sparrow is there and symbolizes insignificance and worthless (Mt 10:29). Yet even they have a home there. Anyone who seems insignificant and worthless can find in Gods presence a home. How many times does God pass over the haughty, proud, powerful and selects the obscure individual to accomplish something like Gideon, Moses, Joseph or David. Even the sparrow till find a place of usefulness, a home in God. Then the swallow, the swiftest of birds, restless and active are there. Darting about like so many people can even settle down to raise there young in the temple. People who are restless, rolling stones type ever on the move can find in God a home, where they can build a nest, raise young and embark on a life of purpose and fulfillment (Mt 11:28-29). This motivates him to say that this God is Lord of hosts or Lord of the multitudes, great crowds whom all everywhere do depend. But also a personal note my king and my god in contrast to all. God is able to give himself to me and at the same time he is doing it also to you and to everyone else in the world. God is never stretched in fifteen different directions!
2. GOD GIVES ME STRENGTH WHEN HE IS AT WORK IN MY LIFE 5-8
(1) There is only power in God 5a Life throws a lot of curveballs at us. difficulties, troubles, trials, pressures constantly remind us we need a deep abiding inner strength to make it through. Our strength he tells us is in God. It is not in ourselves. Even when we pray, it is not my praying that has power. There is no power in prayer. There is only power in God who answers prayers. The Christian life is a powerful life because it is God who has not given us the spirit of fear but of power of love and a discipline (2 Tim 1:7). We can do all things thru Christ who gives us the strength (Phil 4:13).
(2) I give God access to all areas of my life All thru scripture references to highways and they refer to what people do in their lives to prepare the way for God. John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus (Isa 40). People who know how to build in their hearts a highway to God. So when you pass thru the valleys of Baca that waterless place will become a place of springs vs 6. Coming to places of sorrow, discouragement, despair will be a radiant faith, cheerful outlook, a place of fountains, refreshment by means of the early rains a picture of the HS. It is refreshing to have people come into your life with but a word change your whole outlook. The effect of this highway of the heart is that they go from strength to strength before God vs 7. They get better and better at knowing Gods grace until ultimately God manifests Himself thru lives like this. He concludes praying God make him this kind of man vs 8. Help me learn where my strength lies, build in my heart highways for God so I can make it thru the valleys and enjoy the springs created.
3. GIVE ME THIS LIFE 9-12
(1) Life with God incomparably better than anything else 9-10 One day lived this way equivalent to almost 3 yrs without him. A day with you worth a 1000 elsewhere.
(2) Life with God is inexhaustibly complete 11-12
God adapts himself to my need as sun and shield. God gives us first grace, then glory. What an advantage of life lived with God.