Advent: November 28

2021 Advent: November 28

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

This is of course a much-loved psalm that we can carry with us at all times and in all conditions of life. The Lord is with us, beside us, before us. He guides, refreshes, favours and blesses us.

It’s the last verse that speaks of eternity – I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. God has a place where he dwells. For mortal man this is an indescribable place, out of the reach of mortals. For the psalmist the house of the Lord may well relate to the house of the Lord set up on earth – the portable Tent of Meeting (the Tabernacle) when the Israelites were in the wilderness for a whole generation, and the stone-built Temple in Jerusalem. Both had a Most Holy Place where the High Priest would meet with God once a year.

For the Psalmist (in Psalm 84), just one day in the courts of the Temple is worth over a thousand days anywhere else. For the writer of Psalm 23 there is a certainty that he will spend eternity in God’s house.

What would you give in exchange for one day in God’s House?

What do you understand by the words “for ever”?

How does our three score years and ten weigh up against eternity?

Father God, your dwelling place can only be described as the place where you are, and no temple can contain you. Teach me how to seek you in the place you set me. Amen.

Better is one day