MOMENTS WITH THE MINISTER: I love it when God's house is inhabited

By Brian Taylor
Special to the Herald Democrat
Brian Taylor

Love It When God’s House is Inhabited

“O LORD, I love the habitation of your house

and the place where your glory dwells.” Psalm 26:8

Most theologians and commentators agree that Psalm 26 was written by King David

during a time of national punishment under the hand of God. It could have been the 3 day plague that killed 70,000 people, and was brought on by David’s disobedience in his numbering of Israel’s men for military reasons (2 Samuel 24). It may have been the time when David was about 58 years old, and a three year famine fell upon the land of Israel for the sins that King Saul had done many years before when he massacred the Gibeonites. Whatever the sin, and whoever was to blame, scholars agree this Psalm was written during a national crisis for Israel. We are in the middle of a global pandemic, and just as our nation is being infected by this virus, so other nations around the world are experiencing it too. In my own church, we have experienced suffering because of this Coronavirus. People are sometimes putting the blame on others when things like this happen, but I know you are aware that most people are trying to do everything they can to protect themselves, their loved ones, and even strangers. How can we blame someone for an invisible virus that spreads even before people feel any symptoms?  How do we rationalize a God who would allow this into our entire world? Well these are deep questions, but these are not the questions David asked.

King David knew that himself and Israel were at times guilty of sin. He also realized that

there were times when He had done nothing wrong. In the beginning of this Psalm 26, David asks God to vindicate him. He tells God that he has walked in integrity.  Sometimes bad things happen to good people. I don’t mean these people are perfect, but perhaps they are walking with God, living a holy life, doing what they can for their fellow man, and boom; out of nowhere they get sick. Perhaps, you have prayed that prayer: Lord, I’ve done nothing wrong that I can think of. Why has this happened to me? David asks God to examine His heart. David claims he doesn’t sit with worthless men, and He doesn’t associate with hypocrites. David is essentially saying, he is careful about the friends he brings close to him. He hates evildoers, and refuses to join with the wicked. I don’t think that means that David has no compassion for lost people, but

rather, it speaks to the seriousness of sin. It speaks to how seriously David believed sin was, and he was not going to be led into it.

Next, David sings about the altar, and how he worships around it with a voice of

thanksgiving. There is much to be thankful for in my own family this holiday season as

Thanksgiving is around the corner. I have not lost anyone that I know of yet to Covid. I’m

thankful for that. Right now our church is doing the online only services on Facebook Live because of Covid, and I’m thankful that even in this way, I can join my brothers and sisters around the altar of the Lord each Wednesday and each Sunday, (even if it is remotely for a couple of weeks). I’m thankful for all that the Lord is done in protecting us through this horrible virus. At times, I’ve been so downcast because the truth is, like David, I love the house of the Lord. I love when God’s people get together. I believe that people need Jesus, His Word, and His gospel now more than ever. We need each other, and to live in isolation is hurting many in our land. So when churches have to shut down even for a month, pastors aren’t happy, we aren’t even resting or taking a break. We are making phone calls, praying for our people in the hospital, begging God to protect the teachers, the nurses, the EMT workers, the blue collar workers in our churches, the supervisors, the elderly, the home bound, and every single person in our churches. We are preaching from our homes with Covid, we are filming from our phones in empty sanctuaries, staring at empty pews. Our offerings have suffered, and we have lost staff members due to the spirit of discouragement in our land. But we still love God’s people, and we still love God’s house, and more than anything we still love God and His presence in our midst. Like David, we sing, Lord redeem me, and be gracious to me. Like David, we sing, “I love your house when it is inhabited by your people”, and one day very soon, “I will praise you in the midst of the assembly”. That is the minister’s hope that gets us through all of this: that on the other side of this - we will all worship in the Lord’s presence together again in His house.

Brian Taylor began his ministry as a young man on the foreign mission field of Togo, West Africa serving with the International Mission Board of the SBC. He spent almost a decade serving as a music and youth minister in the Panhandle of Texas. He loves preaching and pastoring on the south side of Sherman. He has been married to his wife Sarah for 17 years, and they have five children. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Herald Democrat.