Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Dwelling Place

"Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
 2 Before the mountains were brought forth,
         Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
         Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. " Psalm 90:1-2

I love reading verses in the Bible that simply blow my mind about the grandness of God.  My mind really doesn't process the idea that before anything here on earth even existed- God was.  The thought that God has always been doesn't process either.  But was does process is that God is our dwelling place- and always has been.

I've been reading the book of 1 Kings, and as it seems to be every time I make my way through that book, I am amazed at how even the great King Solomon failed in the conditions God set before him.  In chapter 3, Solomon asked God for wisdom, and this so pleased God, that God granted the wisdom, plus untold riches, and then said that he would bless Solomon with a long life if we continued to walk in God's ways.

"Then God said to him: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, 12 behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. 13 And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days. 14 So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days."  1 Kings 3:11-14

And then we get to read in 1 Kings about the splendor of King Solomon.  He was such a wise and noble leader that Kings and Queens traveled hundreds of miles to see him and his splendor.  In King Solomon's time, there was so much wealth in the land that silver was worthless- think about that one! And yet, with all this- with all the wisdom and the honor and the wealth, Solomon failed to follow God's command for his life.  Solomon had a weakness for women, and had hundreds of wives from foreign lands, and with those foreign wives came foreign gods, and Solomon began to worship them in addition to his God.  Solomon failed big time.  He did not focus his heart on the dwelling place of the Lord God.  Instead he focused his heart on his fleshly desires.  Which is the ultimate in irony, because Solomon physically built a physical dwelling place for the Lord! 

Solomon can be a great lesson to us to remind us to do the occasional "heart check".  Where does our heart truly lie?  I guess I think about some of the talents that God may bless us with.  When we use those talents, what is our ultimate purpose in using them?  Probably the easiest way to illustrate this is within the ministry of a worship team.  A worship leader or singer is using their talent for singing in the act of worship.  Sometimes, though, the focus can be on the singing itself or on displaying ones talents for accolades or praise.  The purpose for the actual singing should obviously be for the purpose of worshiping and praising God.  When that person's focus shifts from God to self, that's when they cross into the danger zone of focusing their heart in the wrong places.  Sadly, we actually hear about this a lot with professional Christian music artists.  Every once in a while a Christian artist will cross over into doing secular music and then they never come back to the music that inspires and is God-focused. They become enticed by the world and what it has to offer.

Maybe our enticements are not so grand.  Maybe it's simply choosing to purchase a few things for the home instead of tithing.  Maybe it's simply choosing to watch TV instead of spending time in our Bibles.  Regardless of what is trying to steal our focus, we are unlike Solomon in that we have a few amazing ways that we can work to avoid the trap that caught up Solomon.  We have Jesus- the boundless grace that set us free.  We also have the Holy Spirit who can guide us and keep our spirits in check.  It's the Holy Spirit who sends us those warning signals- that what we are about to do may not be the best idea we have.

The Lord has been the dwelling place for all generations- and He continues to be so today for all who desire Him.  When we rest our hearts and our minds in Him, nothing is impossible for us.

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