I am learning a lot from Psalm 84 about pursuing and prizing the presence of God. I have got to verse 3:
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my King and my God. Psalm 84:3
In this verse we get a kind of “Spring watch” camera view on some birds that have made their nest near God’s alter. In the temple there was an alter where the sacrifices took place and it seems that the Psalmist saw birds nesting there. They seem so at home in such a holy place, going about their daily lives in God’s house.
By saying “even they” find a place he is seeing a possibility, making a case, experiencing a wonderful rise of expectation, that he too might enjoy such a privilege. That he would be with his king and his God.
The repetition of “my” ie “my King and my God” emphasise his loyalty and devotion and affection. When people talk about a football team they support they often say things like “we won” or “my team beat yours“. When we speak about “they” we are distancing ourselves from something. I’m learning Greek so I now know that is called the third person plural! When I talk about the school my kids go to and where Sarah and I serve in various ways I try to consciously say “we” rather than “they“. How much more the church of God. What a privilege to be able to say “we” rather than “they” or “it”. A Christan can never legitimately use the third person plural about the church they belong to.
Anyway, how can I live my life in the presence of God? Well the truth is I do, whether I know it or not. His grace and love and provision are on my life even when I sleep so I am really talking about living life in the good of his presence. As a family we always want to be talking about our heavenly father and his loving presence and provision. Every decision we make and every thought we have is an opportunity to enjoy living in his house. The knowledge of his presence gives me the expectation of good all the time. Though I do not experience his love all the time, at any moment I can stop and bring it to mind and a wonderful sense of joy and peace wells up with in me.
Enjoying God’s presence is not a hard thing that I have to work at. It’s something to be recognised and enjoyed as I go through life. I need to eat, and work and play and raise my family just like the bird described in the Psalm but my capacity to appreciate and enjoy the context in which I do these things is far greater than a bird. He has no idea of the privileged place he is living in. I do. I am a son and heir in God’s house and I am seated in heavenly places with Christ.
And what about this for turning things on their head – wonder of wonders God makes his home in me or more precisely “us”, the church. Woven together like little twigs God dwells among us and goes about his life with us. Woooooooow!
PS. Can we live our lives in the presence of God like the sparrow? Jesus says a time is coming, and has now come, when we will not worship in a particular place but in Spirit and in truth. Paul says our entire lives are an act of worship. Being placed in Christ, the true temple, we are always in his presence. If we go up on to the highest mountain , or down in the deepest ocean, He is with us.