“How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts!” (Ps. 84:1 AV)
Undoubtedly, as we find ourselves still sequestered per the orders of the governing authorities amid the current COVID-19 crisis, we have gained a greater sense of appreciation for the physical house of the Lord and the corporate gathering of the body of Christ. The words of the verse above, as contained in the 84th psalm, reflect the same sentiment and setting of the 122nd psalm which we considered last Sunday—which was that of anxious pilgrims filled with anticipation enroute to Jerusalem and, more specifically to the temple, to render homage and praise to the God of glory. This 84th psalm was designated by its writer to be sang by the Korahites, a guild of Levitical temple singers.
It’s interesting to note, however, that there is a difference between this song or psalm which expresses the hearts of pilgrims on their way to God’s house and another psalm, Psalm 137, which is the song of exiles held captive in Babylon who were separated from the holy city and the temple within it. In the 137th psalm we can hear a doleful song of lament encapsulated in these words: “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof” (Ps.137:1–2 AV). It would be reasonable to assume that many of us find ourselves emotionally betwixt the dispositions of the two psalms. Sheltering in at home can create the illusion of being held captive. But in truth, we are not. Thanks be to God that, per the digital age and the Holy Spirit, we can have church wherever it is that we might be. The key is practicing His presence, which need not be invoked, because He is omnipresent. It is our worship which makes us aware of Him who always am. It is in those moments of keen awareness of the presence of God in His tabernacle, house, or temple, however one may term it; that God deposits blessings, healings, and miracles throughout the tapestry of our lives. It is in this place that we discover the friendliness, loveliness, or amiability of God’s tabernacles.
I pray that on this Sunday, while sheltering in place, if you have not done so already, that you will enter into God’s lovely tabernacle to encounter Him in healing worship, a worship that not only is able to heal illnesses of all sorts, but rather most importantly, that transcends all present calamity and soothes and quails all fears. I close with the words of a song that should convey the heart of all true worshipers:
Lord, prepare me
To be a sanctuary
Pure and holy
Tried and true
I’ll be a living
Sanctuary for You
It is in times like these that you can discover the beauty of God’s house at your house!
Yours in His Service,
Bishop Lambert W. Gates, Sr.