“Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.” Psalm 26:8
If anyone could worship God in nature, it was King David, who spent so much time there as a young shepherd boy, and who has passed down to us, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the glory of God’s creation. One has only to read his Psalms, and especially the first six verses of the nineteenth, to know his appreciation for the God of creation. Yet for this lover of nature, this was not enough. It was enough to see and appreciate God’s handiwork, but not enough to truly know and worship Him. For this, David went to the house of God. It was home (“habitation”) to him; and he loved it. Why?
“For one thing,” says David, “That’s where I grow, spiritually.” “I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever” (Psl. 52:8). “Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.” (Psl. 92:13). And after nearly sixty-three years of Christian life, I have to agree with him. I was led to a saving knowledge of Christ as a child, in a Sunday School classroom; nurtured in biblical truth weekly under a godly, Bible-believing pastor; and I caught my first glimpse of the man of God I would one day marry, in a revival meeting. In the intervening years, a great part of my growth in grace has come through the ministry of a Spirit-anointed preacher of the Gospel, behind a pulpit. Perhaps that’s why I can identify with verse fourteen of Psalm ninety-two: “They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing.” You think?
Something else, David experienced sweet fellowship with fellow believers, in the house of God. Yes, one of them betrayed him, but he still says of such times, “We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company” (Psl. 55:14). Whatever hurt he experienced from one relationship was not enough to make him forsake the house of God. The camaraderie between the saints of God goes way beyond shared interests to shared Blood (1 John 1:7). I like to say, “We’re ‘Blood kin!’” The encouragement, sympathy, admonition, and validation we get from our brothers and sisters in Christ cannot be found standing alone under a starry sky, gazing into the heavens. And, like David, we need it.
I have by no means exhausted David’s thoughts on this subject, nor my own, but I think I’ve let you know where my heart lies. I’m like David; I’d rather be a greeter at our church than a hostess at a five-star restaurant (Psl. 84:10)! I love my church home. It’s an hour away; and when I’m unable to attend, I sometimes slip into one close by…just to hear the Word proclaimed and to be with God’s people…my people. It’s a picture of the Church in Glory, and one day soon, I’ll “move my membership” there. You see, I love the house of the Lord…wherever it is.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psl. 23:6
Note: The picture above is the church in which I was saved. It was taken the year it was built, 1949