OUR HEAVENLY CITIZENSHIP
Holy Spirit of truth, direct my attention to Jesus, so I might see what You would have me become.
Read PSALM 84
1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
2 My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.
5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
8 Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty;
listen to me, God of Jacob.
9 Look on our shield, O God;
look with favor on your anointed one.
10 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.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
12 Lord Almighty,
blessed is the one who trusts in you.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Everything God creates and gives is meant to be a sign pointing back to God—our true home, our true destination. Sin is worshipping the things God created instead of the Creator himself” (Ben Patterson).
Paul tells the Thessalonians that on Christ’s return they will be with the Lord forever (1 Thess. 4:17). Suffering greatly as they are, they clearly long for this. So does Paul, who knows that “to live is Christ and to die is gain… better by far” (Phil. 1:21,23). As we watch our world groan in the pain of death, injustice, disasters, war and plagues, this is our hope (Rom. 8:17–23). Our hearts yearn for heaven, for there our citizenship is inscribed in the book of life. We are presently governed by empires, but it is there that our true, faithful Lord is enthroned. He will come, and peace will ensue.
The unknown sons of Korah express similar longing, but within a Jewish framework: for Mount Zion, the Temple, its courts and its altars. Being in God’s Temple is to be in his presence and be strengthened. There the psalmist prays, especially for his anointed, the king (9). He cries out that one day in the Temple is superior to a thousand anywhere else. What is usually translated as “a doorkeeper” (10) might mean to be a beggar at the threshold—better to beg at the Temple gates (Acts 3) than dwell in the tents of the wealthy wicked.
Why? Because God warms and protects his upright people, he bestows on them favor and honor and he grants them good things. Indeed, “blessed are those who trust in You” (12).
Now that Jesus has come, we don’t have to go to Zion; Zion has come to us. We are participants in his Temple, his people. We await that day when Christ shall come in glory, the dead will rise in Christ first, evil will be vanquished and together we will welcome him into his world, his Temple. In the meantime, let us stand firm!
Consider all that the Thessalonian letters have said about Christ’s coming. Read the psalm looking forward to that day. How great will it be? Now, live it out. Shalom. Charis.
Thanks be to You, God! “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil 3:20). I look forward in anticipation.
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