I Love the House Where You Live, O Lord

By Pastor Teck Uy

For believers, there should be no other place where they would rather spend their time than the house of the Lord. This was the yearning of King David when he uttered, “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple” (Psalm 27:4). The house of the Lord is a place of rest for the weary. It is a shelter and a refuge for those that are oppressed and troubled. The reason is not because of the building itself, but because it is where the Lord lives. Again David expressed this truth beautifully, saying, “I love the house where you live, O Lord, the place where your glory dwells” (Psalm 26:8).

When King David uttered these words, the beautiful temple in Jerusalem that we know now was not built yet. It was his son, King Solomon, who built it years later. At that time, David was reflecting on the glory of the Lord that filled the Tabernacle that Moses built in the wilderness. Also, he was looking forward to the beauty of the temple that his son would build. However, it was not the physical beauty of the temple that caused David to want to live and spend time in the temple, but the glory of the Lord that dwelled in it.  He longed to be in the presence of the Lord. To emphasize that it is not the temple building itself that matters, Jesus rebuked his disciples when they focused their eyes on the beauty of the temple structures. He said, “Do you see all these things? I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down” (Matt. 24:2). Indeed, no matter how beautiful the building is, it should not be the object of worship. God himself, who is enthroned and whose glory fills the temple, should be worshipped.

Overwhelmed by the glory of God, David exclaimed, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God” (Psalm 84:1-2). The dwelling place of God is beyond compare. It draws us closer to him and moves us to long and worship him. It is the best and most secure place for one to build his life and that of his offspring. David noted that even sparrows and swallows that are easily scared at the sight of men confidently build their nests next to the altar. If such is the case with these birds that are wild in nature, how much more will those who draw themselves to God find shelter in him? It is always refreshing to know that there is a place – the house of the Lord – where we could meet with God and be comforted.

To magnify the fact that there was no place that he would rather be than the house of the Lord, David said, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked” (Psalm 84:10). But what reward awaits those who will serve in a lowly job – as low as a doorkeeper – in the house of the Lord? To David, there was no better reward for serving the Lord than to gaze upon his beauty. While not all could see the beauty of the Lord, the doorkeepers would surely not miss it as the Lord entered through the door. And for those who are faithful in the discharge of their task, no matter how lowly they can be, the Lord will say unto them, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matt. 25:21).

There will be many desires and plans that will compete with our time. Time is precious and whether we will spend it with the Lord or not depends on how much we love the Lord and how much we treasure his presence. We can always decide to spend our time elsewhere and we may appear to enjoy every moment of it. However, if the Lord is nowhere to be found, we can be sure that whatever joy it gives will not be lasting. It is as temporal as the number of days spent in that activity. However, one day spent with the Lord is very rewarding. The reward has a multiplier effect, in that the joy that a day spent with the Lord brings is better than the joy that a thousand days can bring. Therefore, let us spend time with the Lord and long to be with him moment by moment. Let us learn to love the house of the Lord, for it is where his glory dwells. Let us focus our eyes not on the building, but on his presence. Let us commune with him in our prayers and in our worship. Our personal troubles should not drive us away from the courts of the Lord. Instead, these should draw us closer to him, for he is our shelter and refuge and our ever-present help in times of trouble. Let us make the house of the Lord our home and bring our young ones that they may be instructed in the fear of the Lord. Let us be like David and say, “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life”. Hallelujah!