My NKJV version reads as follows:
"Blessed is the man You choose, And cause to approach You, That he may dwell in Your courts.Â We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Of Your holy temple."
The word that strikes me is âcourts.â In Davidâs day, a âcourtâ wasnât the place where lawyers argue over civil and criminal law. They were a place of refuge and blessing. A person in the kingâs court ate well. They dressed well. They were treated well and were protected. To âdwellâ in the kingâs court, meant that you lived there. The âkingâ in this day, is very much like God in that you are not arrested, but you came of your own free will. The Psalmist speaks of âcausingâ one to âapproachâ God.
How wonderful! How absolutely divine that something so invisible as the finger of God, unseen to the human eye, but it nonetheless, so real and powerful, that the person leaves their life behind that he may âdwellâ in Godâs âcourts.â When I read this, I automatically thought of a similar verse found in John 6:44 which reads: â No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws himâŠâ David speaks that if such an event happens, the man who heeds the invitation is blessed and that we shall be âsatisfiedâ with the goodness of Godâs house.
And again there, the Psalmist writes: âWe shall be satisfied with the goodness of Godâs house.â How wonderful. âSatisfiedâ suggests to me that they are aware of much more that exists with God; perhaps higher office, wealth, knowledge, sensual luxuries. But they are not asking for that. âGoodnessâ seems to suggest that they would be happy with just the basics that they probably werenât getting in the life that they had or if they did get them, it was probably at dear price. (terrible labor, hunting in the wild, bartering with devious people, etc.) It's a beautiful promise.
I feel a tremendous sense of satisfaction in that my decision to follow Christ was a correct one.
Of course, in the modern vein, I donât âdwellâ in a court in any way as nice as those were in Davidâs day. I live in one of over one hundred apartment units in a high-rise in a major metropolitan city. I have to work for living to keep it. Yet, the promise is the same. By faith, I have accepted Godâs son for the atonement of my sins and by faith, I will be in the house of God when I die. Until then, Godâs blessings will suffice.
In this verse God is looking down on the Psalmists' David's troubles. David reflects on God's wisdom in choosing any person and prompting that person to come and know and experience God in his fantastic courts, even this broken-hearted servant that is regretting his past actions.
The verse also prompts me to realize that God doesn't make robots. He makes us with minds that allow us to choose which way we want to go. He understands our spirit. He knows why we choose what we choose and what the consequences will be from our choices.
David is on the run from Saul. Not only does he have to flee for his life, the people that he knew best: family, business associates, his fellow countrymen, are out to malign him, twist his words, and otherwise break him down physically and mentally. But in this terrible trial, God realizes that God continues to be his best friend. David knows that God will create a terrible end for who are persecuting him. He only need wait on the Lord.
I've read the Psalms before. From Psalm 1 to Psalm 150. They're beautiful words of hope and peace. And they are so much a part of our public lives as Christians. We hear them on the radio, we see them inscribed on buildings (Psalm 8:3-4 ...What is man that you are mindful of him...) Weâre preached them from the pulpit. I don't know a Christian, past or present, which hasn't found some amount of solace in them.
Each year as I attempt to read the Bible through (it usually takes me about a year and three months) I reflect on the life and experiences that God has taken me through. Although I have not had the exact struggles that the Psalmist has had, I've endured my bumps and hurdles. I've gone through (and am going through) financial challenges, physical and mental stresses, career uncertainties, deep loneliness, questions on my identity and of course, rich, wonderful blessings. We all go through them. The war in Iraq. The mortgage crisis. Global warming. Unspeakable crimes that beggar the imagination. Loss of family and friends. These all wear away at our souls and we (at least I do) wonder when God is going to come and call it all to a halt. (I often wish it would be tomorrow. Other times, I wish he'd hold off, not only for the sake of the lost, so they can get the embraced the message and be saved, but that his children can get some things done here on this planet that we've set our hearts on, so we can mature in our faith.) But on this day, God's grace has left me here to abide by and do His will. By his mercy, I've been spared disaster and danger. My God is a good God! And I give him all the praise and glory.
The Devil has me on his calendar. Every day, Satan is mounting a campaign to attack me or trip me up. Satan knows me better than I know myself. Like any enemy, he crouches in the darkness, watching and waiting to strike. But my God is there, too. He has put his Word in my mouth. He has his angels around me to protect me. I have more challenges to endure in this life. But if I hold on to the hand of God, I'll be able to make it through.
I'm struck by the earlier verse: 'Iniquities prevail against me; As for our transgressions, You will provide atonement for them.' (verse 3) How awesome, that the Psalmist, carried on by the Holy Spirit, may have seen (or felt) the promise of the upcoming sacrifice of Jesus himself! He is our ultimate atonement. We can't help our sin nature. In our flesh, we often give-in to sin. David brought an entire world of problems on himself by his sins. (Bathsheba, the poor raising of his son Ammon and subsequent rape of his half sister Tamar, the unauthorized census he took of his people.) But God admires a repentant heart and a contrite spirit. He often disciplines, but he is merciful in his disciplining. And it is always for our own good.
So, there my dear fellow Christian! Walk in God's grace. Walk in his power. Walk in faith of his promises. God's face will shine down you. And God's blessings will flow down on you like a mighty river.