How lovely are your dwelling places, O Lord of hosts! How great is your lovingkindness! How amazing your faithfulness!
Father, you are the Lord of hosts, who dwells in unapproachable light. And yet, you welcome us into your presence to enjoy your beauty. Kings, queens and presidents we have not access to. But we have access to you. And not only do we get to come and bring you our pleas, but we also come and enjoy you as well as rest in you. We get to rest now, by faith, and we get to rest for eternity, by sight. And even though the threshold of your house is more than we deserve, you welcome us to rest in your very presence!
Father, how can it be that you are so good? Most powerful people we know are only as good as convenience and as evil as necessity dictates. But you are good and no evil is in You. You are good all the time and everything you do is good. The bird has found a house at your altars, the bird! And we, rebellious creatures, get to share in salvation that you crafted through Christ in your goodness.
Father, those who dwell in your house are blessed and continually so. They go from strength to strength. You don’t take care of them once and let them be, but you constantly watch over them to empower them. You are faithful when they fail and you always keep your promises!
God, how amazing you are!
And how wretched sinners are we! We long for the courts of human power and human fame, rather than for your courts. We long to have great resumes and we seek great jobs so we can feel good about ourselves. We run and we strive trying to get ahead, in the process forgetting our neighbor and forgetting what is true, beautiful and just. We chase after man-made, self-made dreams, or after lost happiness, instead of chasing after you. Oftentimes, we come to church and we go to community group, only to find ourselves plunging headfirst towards self-made images as soon as we are out the door.
Father, this week, we doubted you. Your word says “How blessed is the man who trusts in You”. And you are good and you are faithful. But we looked at our circumstances and disliked them and decided that you were not faithful. We grumbled and we lashed out. We sought to save ourselves. If we were unable to save ourselves we tried to avoid walking by faith in repentance by saying “we are too bad to save” or “the world is just so bad.”
Father, forgive us our rebellion; forgive our longing for man-made tents instead of longing for your courts. Forgive us that we doubted your goodness and our decision that our circumstances should drive our obedience rather than your eternal character and promises.
We thank you Lord that, in Jesus, you have provided grace. In Jesus we are forgiven of our sin and empowered to obey you.
And Lord, we pray that you would enable us to delight in you and seek your glory and your courts more than human glory and human tents. Empower us to be content, Lord, with your grace provided in Jesus, distributed at the times decided by you. Enable us to seek, not to be full, but to be servants in all circumstances. Enable us to recognize that we live in a strange land, that we are aliens, citizens of a city that is yet to come.
Father, provide grace to our brothers and sisters in Sudan who are being persecuted by Sudan’s president. Since 2011 he has destroyed or bulldozed down 11 churches. We ask, Lord, for the transformation of this man, that he would repent of his sins and stop persecuting your church. We ask that you give your church in Sudan grace to withstand this assault and spread the Gospel mightily. Do not allow this man and his regime to hurt further churches.
Father, we thank you for Jesus. We thank you that He left His throne above and became a man and a servant. We thank you that he lived as a poor, unattractive and practically homeless person for our sakes. We thank you for his dying for our sins so that we may be forgiven. We pray that we would love Jesus and pursue Jesus in all circumstances, good or bad.
In Christ’s name, Amen.