Today: [Psalms Fifteen / Sixteen] Who Will Abide in the Tabernacle of God. In this psalm David speaks of the tabernacle of God. There were actually two tabernacles in David’s day – one on Zion and another in Gibeon. The tabernacle in Zion is where the ark of the Covenant was kept. For us this is a type of the tabernacle of God that Jesus and the New Testament writers was on the inside of us.
[Psa 15:1-5 KJV] 1 [[A Psalm of David.]] LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? 2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. 3 [He that] backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. 4 In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. [He that] sweareth to [his own] hurt, and changeth not. 5 [He that] putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these [things] shall never be moved.
In this psalm David writes about the tabernacle of God. For David the tabernacle was two things – the Tabernacle of David that was erected on mount Zion to contain the ark of the Covenant, and the Tabernacle of Moses that was at Gibeon. When David brought up the ark of the Covenant from Kearjath-jearim he didn’t return it to the Tabernacle of Moses but wanted it close to him near his palace on mount Zion. This area is the specific part of Jerusalem known as the city of David where the kings were buried and where David lived.
For us the tabernacle is not a building or a tent or a mountain. In the New Testament a new understanding of the Holy Place of God was introduced by none other than Jesus. In Luke 17:20-21 when asked about the kingdom Jesus didn’t speak of a prophetic timeline or the temple of Herod. Instead he describes the kingdom of God in esoteric terms. For Jesus the kingdom of God and the dwelling place of God was not in a building or in the Holy of Holies. For Jesus the dwelling place of God was in the human heart. In the gospel of John Jesus is recorded to have said:
[Jhn 14:11 KJV] 11 Believe me that I [am] in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.
Jesus’ followers propagated this teaching of Jesus and enlarged upon it declaring that not only is the Father in us – we are in fact the temple of God. Paul said in 1 Cor. 3:16:
[1Co 3:16 KJV] 16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
One would think this would be a singular remarkable feature of Christianity but in fact Christian culture still do this day tends to revere it’s buildings and edifices more than who God is on the inside of them. Part of that is the need to keep adherents outwardly dependent on religious infrastructure. If we teach that God is in you of a truth and that you are the temple of God and that God dwells in you then we have cut out the middleman – the intermediary priest class now cannot arbitrate your access to God.
With the advent of Martin Luther and the Reformation things began to change. Martin Luther taught that man’s access to God was determined by his faith – not by his right relationship to a religious institution. The Catholic church of Luther’s day believed that they held the keys of the apostle Peter and therefore they could lock the gates of heaven against you or open them to you therefore salvation was in right relationship to the institution rather than a personal subjective relationship with an invisible God who lives in the human heart.
It has been said by many that you cannot be right with God and be wrong with the church or be out of alignment with church leadership. This thought carries with it the influence of the church of Rome.
Does the church sanctify the believer or does the believer sanctify the church? Is the church of the Living God an institution that comprises a religious culture called Christianity or is the church made up of the lively stones that Peter talked about? This is more than a theological debate. Today the church is going through many changes and we have to decide where do we anchor ourselves lest we are cast adrift in a post Christian society that has not tolerance for men and woman of faith. From that standpoint we read the psalm of David and we long for the courts of God’s tabernacle and seek to be in right relationship to the God who lives there and in relationship to those believers other than ourselves that make up His corporate habitation.
[Psa 16:1-11 KJV] 1 [[Michtam of David.]] Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust. 2 [O my soul], thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou [art] my Lord: my goodness [extendeth] not to thee; 3 [But] to the saints that [are] in the earth, and [to] the excellent, in whom [is] all my delight. 4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied [that] hasten [after] another [god]: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips. 5 The LORD [is] the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. 6 The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant [places]; yea, I have a goodly heritage.
In this psalm David cries out to God that he might be preserved in a time of trouble. We all want to survive tough times. Sometime we go through difficulties and we wonder what will be the end of us. We build emplacements of security around us hoping to endure – but for David his security was not in high walls or treasure houses. David looks to the Lord for his preservation. David realizes that in spite of all his conquest and treasuries and armies – if God doesn’t preserve him there is no hope.
We might ask ourselves is it necessary for David to pray this prayer? David is God’s anointed king and a man after God’s own heart. Will not God preserve and defend David whether David asks Him to do so? In Psalm 50:15 the Father says “call upon Me in a time of trouble and I will answer you and deliver you…” What if we don’t call? There is a sentiment often expressed by many that “God knows what I need – if He wants me to have something He will give it to me …” Such remarks are usually accompanied by a dismissive tone by someone who rejects the fact that they might be in ongoing need because of a deficient prayer life.
It was John Wesley who famously observed “it seems that God will do nothing unless a man first ask Him….” Watchman Nee in teaching on prayer said the following:
1. God instructs us regarding His will.
2. We return God’s will to Him in prayer.
3. God performs His will in answer to our cry.
This is God’s method. He illuminates us regarding His will through His word and through His Spirit. If we do not then engage His will in prayer then nothing happens. Many know the will of God and the wonderful promises of God but stop there and live lives of quiet desperation without ever experiencing the will of God manifest in their lives. We must learn to ask in prayer as Jesus said in Matt. 7:7 “… ask and it will be given you …”
7 I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. 8 I have set the LORD always before me: because [he is] at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. 10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fulness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.
David blesses the Lord because he sees the Lord as giving him counsel in the night. God never leaves us in ignorance. We tend to seek out a person or a practitioner of some kind for counsel. David understood that God’s first source of counsel for him was his own human heart. When David went to sleep he expected to hear from God in the night. When he woke he looked for the mind of God to be manifest in his life. God never fails to give us wisdom when we ask.
[Jas 1:5 KJV] 5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
When you don’t know what to do God will always come through for you IF YOU ASK. Many times when do ask we fail to understand because we actually are asking God to solve our problems according to human reasoning. We come up with an answer in our mind as to how God should move in our lives and then go to Him and say “Father I need you to solve my problem and this is how I want you to do it …” That prayer will usually go completely unanswered.
God has limited Himself to an outcome when He promised us life and life more abundantly (John 10:10). However He retains His sovereignty over HOW he brings about an answer to the things we are asking Him for. Many suffer and languish in unanswered prayer because they are holding onto the reins of their life with such tight control that they are not about to let God or anyone else have their way. That is what the admonition of scripture repeats over and over the need to rest your case with God and let Him take over.
[Heb 4:11 KJV] 11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
David in the conclusion of this psalm rejoices because he knows that God is at his right hand. He expects that God will not leave his soul in hell – in the difficult circumstance. He doesn’t know HOW God will act or move but he does trust in God for the ultimate outcome of blessing and benefit as long as he maintains trust and yieldedness to God – as we also must do in our trial.
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