“For the Lord has chosen Zion, He has desired it for His dwelling.” Psalm 132:13
I desire to live with Christ. Here however, the Lord desires my heart for the dwelling He has chosen. This begs the question, “What kind of dwelling does He come to?”
The answer has developed –
When first a Christian, after enduring 5 minutes embarrassed silence with God, not really knowing what to say, time was up.
Then I met John. He opened the Psalms and showed me the delights of digging deeper in Bible study. Now when the Lord came, I would take Him into the sitting room. We would face each other and converse somewhat formally about Him – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. I would tell Him about what I had learned and He would show me who He is.
Then I lived in a full on student ministry community. I wonder if the Lord’s encounters with me were like a military briefing room. After the usual pleasantries we would get down to the business of the day, how each person was doing and how the Lord could help their development.
Then the Lord revealed that I was trying to use Him to gain what I wanted. He does not behave this way. He loves us. Thus I began seeking God for His own sake rather than mine. Now we sit and reflect on life from many different angles. We are comfortable with one another. What He reveals overflows into prayer for others. I hope He enjoys our time as I do.
We desire to see the Lord’s fame go to the world, to see God yield His harvest.
Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us. God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him. (Psalm67:6-7)
This skips to the end of a process. It begins with –
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, (Psalm67;1)
Great! I want that too! When however, He chooses to answer at a time of His choosing, will I be ready to respond? When He wakes me at 3:00am am I willing to get out of bed and receive that blessing?
that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. (Psalm67:2)
I might think of this blessing as a purely personal thing between God and myself. Yet it is precisely such personal blessings that go out to bless His world.
People see and hear how the Lord has worked His ways in us. This demonstrates something living and practical. They are inspired to seek God too. People hear of how the Lord rescued us from challenging situations and they are emboldened to ask Him for their own.
He uses a ripple effect, throwing a pebble into the pond so the waves go out. The wave is with us for a short time, we forget and move on. The Lord however makes the fruit of that personal encounter persist into the lives of others, and beyond to people around them.
‘God’s business is putting things right; he loves getting the lines straight, setting us straight. Once we are standing tall, we can look him straight in the eye.’ (Psalm 11 Message). The result the Lord is looking for as He works with us is that we would be able to relate with Him face to face, unbound by insecurities and weaknesses. At a time when He has been exposing and working on my pride I read, ‘the proud he knows from afar’ (Psalm 138:6). This shock leaves me motivated to persevere so that God will finish His work in me. I know I cannot do it myself, whenever I think I am doing well I sense an attitude welling up as if it had been me rather than the Lord working through me.
A lesson I have learned from construction work is that you have to cut back to a solid base before you start building. If you try to build on something weak you pay a price in the long run as you realise you have to go back to the beginning wasting much work.
The Lord works on me with similar determination. At times he builds me up giving opportunities to develop and serve. Then I get ahead of myself and my attitude shows the degree to which I am out of true, so he strips me down exposing and working with me on my weaknesses. His goal, that we talk freely face to face, makes it all worth it.