(Psalm 27:1-6 NKJ)
The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When the wicked came against me To eat up my flesh, My enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell. 3 Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war should rise against me, In this I will be confident. 4 One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple. 5 For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock. 6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.
Whether you are here at church or home, wherever you are worshipping God, it is the house of God. May we truly worship God with all your hearts, with sincerity, in truth and in spirit!
We are currently living in a situation where Covid-19 seems here to stay. The pandemic is making changes, causing many people to suffer financially and many people have died. It makes us wonder if the end time is here. The scary thing is we cannot say it is not. The birth pangs that Jesus talked about in Matthew 24 seems to have begun and we are living in the midst. In science, a changing situation that leads to new and irreversible development is called the critical point or tipping point. I believe spiritually and in world history, we are at this tipping point. We may ask, “Is this judgment?” Throughout the bible, people who rejected God and distanced themselves from the true worship of God, have stepped out of the boundary of God’s protection, and became vulnerable to Satan’s harm, darkness and even death.
God in the bible has warned about these times, so we need to wake up and try to understand God’s warnings. This is a very crucial time for us to be alert and awake, to have a firm understanding of our identity as people of God, to reconfirm and grow in our faith to overcome the tests and trials that may come our way. God has given mankind the ability to stop, think and reflect upon the Word of God. It is God’s privilege that we can repent and return to Him. As David prayed in today’s passage, may we seek to return to the dwelling place of God, which is the boundary of God’s protection. And as believers, it is our task to become the trumpeters who will call all people to return to God’s house too.
The spiritually darkest period in biblical history is the Babylonian captivity. It includes the time that led to the captivity, and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. At that time, the Israelites had lost their reverence for the temple of God; worship had become burdensome, just a tradition and ritual, a mere formality. Because of their superficial worship of going through the motions, it resulted in the destruction of the temple, of Jerusalem, and consequently, they lost their lives. This is a grave lesson for us, those who fail to worship God will perish.
They were taken to Babylon as captives where they could not worship God, or even find Him because they believed God was in the temple. They could not keep the Sabbath and worship in the temple. Going to worship in the temple and the life around the temple was what had distinguished them from the Gentiles. But in Babylon, living in Gentile land, with the Gentiles, and under Gentile rules, how were they to be distinguished? They needed to confirm their faith and find God again.
What was good during this period, was that they had the opportunity to focus on the Word more than the actions of traditions and rituals, and those who were able to find God were able to have fellowship and relationship with God, to cling onto God desperately and their prayers became real. People like Daniel and Ezekiel were able to receive revelation about the end time. Likewise, although things may seem very bad and serious now, I believe God is giving us an opportunity to search for Him, to search for our true faith, to really pray, just like the half an hour of silence in Revelation 8, it is a time when the prayers of the saints are lifted up to the throne of God. The Word will always lead us to repentance and the right direction. Let us meditate and give our ears to the Word of God, who speaks to us daily, and allows us to hear the still small voice, just as He allowed Elijah to hear that voice and go towards the direction of transfiguration.
Let us look at 2 people in the bible going through the same situation as us, who were away from the temple and seeking to return:
Among the people taken to Babylon was Daniel. We know his story, the circumstances were against keeping faith, it was not only inconvenient but life-threatening to worship God. But nothing could stop Daniel’s heart that sought for the temple of God. Even when the king signed a decree forbidding prayer and worship, Daniel continued to worship on his knees 3 times a day by the window facing towards Jerusalem.
(Daniel 6:10 NKJ)
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.
Daniel could be killed if he is caught, yet he did not compromise his faith. His zeal and worship remained steadfast. Instead, he became more fervent, and his prayer shows he was still connected to the temple in his mind and his spirit. Today, we too have many circumstances and reasons to make us succumb to the standards of this world, to become complacent and lethargic about worship, especially when we are at home or places of comfort. But, may our worship become even more sincere, more truthful, more fervent during this time. May we seek for the Word of God even more, may we focus on the Word and have a time of sincere prayer and true spiritual fellowship with God!
Just as the prophet Nehemiah risked his life for the sake of the temple’s reconstruction to preserve faith & restore worship, we too must also count worship as more important than our lives.
(Romans 12:1 NKJ)
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Darkness can penetrate if our worship is not alive & real. It is our worship that protects us, as in worship, we come into the house of God, into His presence; the realm of worship is when we receive the protection. Let us seriously examine our worship today.
In today’s passage, David cries and sings about his desire to live in the dwelling place of God, the house of God. 2 possible backgrounds to Psalm 27 is either David was fleeing from King Saul or his son Absalom. Even in such circumstances, David confessed: I shall be confident as long as I am in the house of God.
(Psalm 27:3 NKJ)
Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war should rise against me, In this I will be confident.
This word “confident” means to feel safe and secure, and trusting. David was not confident in himself; his confidence was that God is with him, and will protect him, therefore he is completely safe and secure. How did David come to have such a heart and desire?
It is because he has set his heart to trust in God alone and worship Him alone. He has decided that nothing will separate him from worshipping God.
(Psalm 57:7 NKJ)
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise.
1) David confessed that only God’s temple is his hiding place
He had to flee from Saul for 10 years and yet throughout, he continued to seek for God, and His temple to worship Him.
(Psalm 31:20 NKJ)
You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence From the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion From the strife of tongues.
(Psalm 91:1-3 NKJ)
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” 3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence.
Are we able to confess like David in times of trouble that we will dwell in the house of God forever? Isn’t it a tendency to go away from church when things get tough?
2) David confessed that he sees God’s face in the temple
David desired to go into the temple and dwell there because it is where he meets with God and sees God’s face & His beauty.
(Psalm 27:8-9 NKJ)
When You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.” 9 Do not hide Your face from me; Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation.
(Psalm 27:4 NKJ)
One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple.
Likewise, as we worship today, may God allow us to behold His face & come into His presence, and may God who is brighter than the sun take away all our sins and darkness.
The sole purpose David fought hard to live, is to worship God in His temple. Let us ask ourselves: how much do I seek for the temple of God, how much do I desire to live in His dwelling place?
(Psalm 84:1-2 NKJ)
How lovely is Your tabernacle, O LORD of hosts! 2 My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
We just had our Summer Conference conducted by our main church in Korea through online services and studies. Many of the teachers taught about Ezekiel’s Temple. Ezekiel’s Temple represents the house of God in heaven and foreshadows new Jerusalem, the new heaven & earth coming down from heaven. It is a place we must enter, there is no other option. In Ezekiel’s Temple, there is the Holy of Holies which represents the presence of God and foreshadows the return of the 2nd Coming Lord. Only the high priest is allowed to enter the Holy of Holies. But because of the atoning work of Jesus on the cross, we are all also able to enter in. Now, only those who go into Ezekiel’s temple and sanctuary will be sanctified and will receive the blessing of eternity, the blessing of new Jerusalem. I believe that David and Daniel understood the mysteries of the temple & its blessing, that in the temple is eternal life, the blessing of God, hence they sought after it so much. Although our home is the temple of God and God’s dwelling place, there is always a place God has designated for worship. May we become people who will seek the temple like David and Daniel!
What are the blessings for those who seek for the temple of God
(Psalm 84:4 NKJ)
Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; They will still be praising You. Selah
(i) It is the blessing of being able to dwell in the temple
(Psalm 84:10 NKJ)
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
(Psalm 23:6 NKJ)
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.
The temple of this earth is a symbol of the kingdom of heaven. When we come to church, we are practising entering into and practising life in the eternal kingdom of heaven.
(ii) It is the blessing of being satisfied with the goodness of God’s house, His holy temple
(Psalm 65:4 NKJ)
Blessed is the man You choose, And cause to approach You, That he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Of Your holy temple.
There will be satisfaction as God fills us with different blessings resulting in thanksgiving and overflowing joy in our lives.
(iii) It is the blessing of our prayers being heard
(1 Kings 9:3 NKJ)
And the LORD said to him: “I have heard your prayer and your supplication that you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built to put My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.
God will hear our prayers and answer. It is the blessing of our prayers being heard, the blessing of being able to talk to God, knowing He is listening.
(iv) The blessing of flourishing
(Psalm 92:12-14 NKJ)
The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 Those who are planted in the house of the LORD Shall flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing,
This flourishing refers to spiritual and physical blessings. Flourishing means no worries, and all will be well. Psalm 65:4 says we will be satisfied with the goodness of God in the temple. What is that goodness? That goodness is the beauty of God, it is what God considers good. It is the redemption, salvation, blessings of His people and eternity.
We are unable to have live worship services because of Covid-19, and not all our members can come to church. However, I believe our earnest desire and prayers, our tears and cries will reach up to the throne of God in heaven & He will hear us. And I believe He will allow us to resume our full and live worship service with choir, and Sunday school very soon if we sincerely pray like David and Daniel. Until then, let us worship wherever we are. Let us not let any darkness and circumstances of this world stop us from fervently worshipping God. I pray and bless you in the name of the Lord that by successfully calling out to God, God will bless you with victory in your life, success in your life, hear your voices and answer you. Let us believe that.