The Place Where Your Glory Dwells

Recently, a friend and coworker of mine was planning a retreat for our staff. She approached me and asked if I would be willing to share during a devotional time. I, of course, was quick to say, “yes.” I began to get excited about a chance to teach or preach, but she kept talking. My excitement faded as she said, “it’s on the glory of God.”

Now, why would a missionary like myself become less excited when asked to speak specifically on the glory of God? The answer is that I’ve spent a lot of time in churches, shopping in Christian bookstores, reading Christian books, watching Christian TV, and listening to Christian radio. All of those things have helped me to become what I am today, and I am so grateful for them. However, they have also at times bored me to tears with vague and unexciting references to and explanations of incredible Biblical truths and concepts. The result is that some Christian phrases have lost their meaning to me. Ideas that should excite me do quite the opposite.

The happy part of this story is that I did not say, “never mind.” I decided to give it a shot. She gave me the verse I was supposed to focus on, and I went to study the glory of God.

King David in Psalm 26 verse 8 said, “O LORD, I love the habitation of your house and the place where your glory dwells.” I did some studying to see that there were several words within the range of meanings for glory. They usually meant something like honor or splendor. But after this studying I looked back at Psalm 26:8, and it clicked. David was not being vague or mystical. He said to God that he loved His house and where His glory dwells. He loved to be in the presence of God. For David, the place where God’s glory dwells (His presence) was the tabernacle, a physical place where he could go to be in the presence of God. It is very much like what the psalmist said in Psalm 84. “How lovely are Your dwelling places, O Lord of hosts! My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord…How blessed are those who dwell in Your house…For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.”

This was a very simple and clear declaration of worship. God, it is really good to be in Your presence. It is better than not being in it. Of course it is more wonderful to be with God. I agree with the psalmist. I would choose one day with Him than three years anywhere else. I’d rather stand uncomfortably close to Him than to rest comfortably anywhere else.

Today we don’t have the tabernacle. So, where can I go to be in God’s presence? Where can I call the place where His glory dwells? I think the answer can be here sitting on my couch. I set out to remember times that I had been in the presence of God: a church where everyone was dancing and worshiping loudly, a Catholic mass in Florida, a Congregational church in New Hampshire, a plane over the Pacific ocean, my car as I left work, a bathroom in a McDonald’s in South Carolina. Then it hit me, and I said, “O LORD, I love the bathroom in McDonald’s in South Carolina, the place where Your glory dwells! I love to be in those churches, the place where Your glory dwells. I love to sit on this couch, the place where Your glory dwells!”

Where can we call the place where His glory dwells? The answer is anywhere that we are. So, what brings the change? I don’t think that God is constantly manifesting His presence to everyone who walks into that bathroom in South Carolina. I think we all believe that God is present everywhere in some fashion, but those who have experienced God’s presence will tell you that there are times that things are different. Sometimes God shows up, and it is very clear. It is almost as though the air gets thicker, and He will often speak to us in those times or bring greater understanding of His character and love for us.

A change occurs, but what brings the change? I think it is simple. God shows up when He is invited. Regardless of our theology on how it all happens, whether or not God planned our invitations or only knew they would come, the simple truth is that He manifests His presence when we invite Him.

I read some verses that mention this order. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you…” In Jeremiah 29:12-14 God says to the people of Judah, “Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find {Me} when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you…”

When does God become near to us? When do we find Him? It’s when we draw near to Him – when we seek Him and search for Him with all our heart! And so, my challenge or encouragement to you who have read this far is to invite God to be near to you. Invite God into your life. Make a blanket sweep invitation like the prophets in the Old Testament. Make sure that God knows that you want Him near. Tell Him He can show up and take over ANY time He wants. He can speak ANY time. He can interrupt you at ANY time. Now, I don’t give blanket sweep invitations like this to anyone. But God can be trusted. He has shown Himself to be upright, loving and wise.

This time they are not David’s words. They are mine. God, I love the habitation of Your house and the place where Your glory dwells! A day with You is better than a thousand anywhere else! Make these words yours.

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