Tag Archives: Psalms

Enter the Sanctuary

photo courtesy of Lawrence OP on flickr.com

photo courtesy of Lawrence OP on flickr.com

What is your sanctuary? Have you every thought about that? We speak often of the large room where we gather in a church building as a sanctuary, and indeed it is. But what do you do on Monday when one of your work colleagues unjustly accuses you of losing that account or when your wife looks at you wondering where you will find the money for that avalanche of bills?

The truth is–we all need a sanctuary. Sometimes we need one a lot closer than the auditorium at our local church. I love reading Psalm 73 and seeing the radical change of perspective when the psalmist decides to make a conscious act of worship even when his circumstances seemed less than praiseworthy. For sixteen verses, a heart is poured out concerning the injustices in the world and those in his life, but in verse 17, something radical happens as a result of a simple, yet deliberate act of worship–“…until I entered the sanctuary of God, then I understood their end.”  After this his tune changes…BIG TIME!
Our psalmist here now realizes that the injustices and evil that he has observed in the world is not only temporary and subordinate to a sovereign God, but that he has been a contributor! He rests in God’s mercy, wisdom and power and can say from his heart “…but as for me, it is good to draw near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.” WOW!
I doubt that the writer was in the sanctuary long enough to see his circumstances change, but we can know that he saw them through an entirely new set of lenses–the lens of worship. He made the conscious decision that regardless of his circumstances he would praise God anyway. Why don’t you decide today to make your heart a sanctuary? From what I can tell, it seems to be God’s favorite kind.

The Joy of Utter “Hopelessness”

“Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable”. –Psalm 145:3

Have you ever set out on something you thought was a lost cause? Maybe it was the class ring you lost while riding on a ten mile wilderness trail, or maybe it was that time you tried to convince your father to borrow the car “one more time” only two days after you wrecked it? In any case, whatever the situation, it looked dire and almost hopeless. Well, there is another “hopeless” pursuit that we are called to as believers–one in which the full paradox of the Scriptures comes into full realization. This “hopeless” pursuit is unlike any other you’ve been on, though, because in this pursuit, the more “lost” you feel, the more “found” you realize you are; the more that you pursue in “vain”, the more meaning you actually find; the more thirsty you are, the more satisfied you become; the more persecuted and rejected you are, the more you find real acceptance—and the list could go on.

The pursuit that we’re talking about here is the never-ending pursuit of God. In Psalm 145, we see that His greatness is unsearchable.  It’s not that God cannot be found, because it is God’s very desire to have a relationship with you for He says, “…and ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart” – (Jer 29:13).  The thing is, that once you are found in Him, you begin the never-ending journey of discovering how unsearchable and endless God’s love and character truly is. This one “hopeless” pursuit is the only thing in life that can actually provide real and lasting joy.

One of my favorite songs of the last couple of years is “Greatness of Our God” (track 11 on the ChurchLife Worship Band CD). In this song there is a line that says “..and no sky contains, no doubt restrains all You are, the greatness of our God”. Not only is this excellent songwriting, but this is an incredibly simple phrasing of a profound eternal truth. The God that you and I serve is greater and stronger than our most challenging trials, and whether or not we choose to believe Him, He is still the same God and still loves us just as much. The flip side is also true–there is no skeptic or doubter that can make God any less than, well, God. He is God and we are not. The end. Fine. And because of this, I plan to continue my “hopeless” pursuit today of the unsearchable riches of God. I hope you will join me, and in doing so, let us find lasting joy in the journey.

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