[Psalm 23: 6]
In doing this, David violated many of the instructions given to Moses; and couldn’t even claim Levitical authority as he came from the tribe of Judah, which significantly means ‘praise’. David knew that the success of his calling was totally dependent on having the Lord’s presence with Him, and this was a physical expression of that understanding. David’s tent was not known for its sacrifices (which continued at Shiloh), but for its 24-hour praise.
This whole episode was a prophetic act looking forward to the time when no further sacrifice would be necessary, when everyone would have access to the Presence, and the response to that invitation would be whole-hearted worship. And it’s that ‘tent’ that James believed was being restored, as the Spirit was poured out across the Jewish and Gentile world [Acts 15:16].
And David had tasted of that superior reality – and made it accessible to others. (I know he wanted to build a temple later on in his life – but that’s another story…..) However, I don’t think it was the tent of worship David was referring to in this verse, as amazing as it was, because it wasn’t practically possible to spend all his time in the tent, he had to go about his business. So either David was speaking figuratively, or was meaning something else. David had discovered something very important during his years as a shepherd – the presence of God was not confined to a place. His ancestor, Jacob, had had a revelation of this many years before. The first mention of ‘house of God’ in the Bible does not refer to a building but an experience on a hillside [Genesis 28:17]. And the word for ‘house’ does not necessarily indicate a structure, but means ‘habitation’ or ‘dwelling place’.
David had learned that the dwelling place of God was to be found all around him, at every moment of the day:
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
David looked prophetically to a day when these things would find their fulfilment. We are privileged to live in that day. We have Jesus’ promise that He will never leave us or forsake us. Not only do we live and move and have our being in Him, but He also has taken up residence in us – Emmanuel really has come to us. And ‘forever’ means just that. When Jesus came to earth He brought His world with Him; eternal life starts as soon as we believe.
The invitation is there – to dwell in His Presence forever.
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