I will dwell in the house of the Lord

And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Psalm 23:6(b)

Today is a Bank Holiday in the UK, so many of us will have the day off work. If you’re lucky enough to have a day off, what will you be doing with your day? Perhaps you’ll be catching up on sleep or doing some work around the house or garden. Maybe you’ll be hitting the shops to take advantage of the Bank Holiday deals. Or perhaps you’re fortunate enough to be escaping to a favourite spot, perhaps even for a long weekend? We all have favourite areas that we like to visit, perhaps a place we went to as children, a spot with sentimental significance for us, or maybe somewhere that is particularly beautiful. Bank Holidays give us an opportunity to visit those special places.

Today, in the final verse of Psalm 23, the Psalmist reflects on being able to spend forever in the house of the Lord. We all one day hope to be able to spend eternity with God; as Christians we realise that our life here and now is only temporary, and look forward to the period after we die or when Jesus returns, when we will be taken to be with our God. No matter how fantastic our favourite place on earth is, no matter how beautiful, awe-inspiring or incredible it is, it simply cannot compare to the magnificence of God’s home.

The only reason we are able to dwell in the house of the Lord is because of the sacrificial act of Christ. In the Old Testament, people were not able to go near the holiest place in the temple, where it was thought God resided, because they were too sinful. If we accept Jesus as our saviour, however, he has paid the price on our behalf, and we are able spend eternity in God’s house.

Wherever you are today, no matter what you’re doing, give thanks to Jesus for what he has done for us, and thank God for inviting us into his home. Enjoy your Bank Holiday, but look forward to what is still to come!

Goodness and love will follow me

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.

Psalm 23:6(a)

At a bit of a loose end the other day, I decided to investigate some of the “get rich quick” schemes that are so common on the internet. The principle scam going around seems to be based on Google adverts. The idea seems to be to set up a website and buy adverts on Google to drive up traffic, and then sell adverts on the site. The more people visiting, the more money you make. The key is to balance the amount of money you spend on advertising with the amount of revenue you get from the adverts of your site. It all seems a bit ridiculous, creating an advertising loop, and I cannot see how it is possible to make the kind of money that the sites brag about. The truth is that it is very hard to become an internet millionaire. At this site’s peak, we received millions of visitors every year, but we never made a penny. In fact, hosting the site cost us money!

If you’re looking for true happiness in your life, you’re not going to find it in get rich quick scams. The Psalmist in today’s verse, though, believes that he has found the answer. True happiness, he believes, comes from the Lord. He is convinced that only by accepting the Lord as his shepherd will he achieve the happiness that he seeks. Once he makes that step, however, he proclaims that goodness and love will follow him forever. As we have seen over the past few days, he recognises that there will still be low points in his life (they surely don’t get lower than “the valley of the shadow of death!”), but if he puts his trust in God and accepts his lead, then God will guide him, support him and love him. God will provide all he requires in abundance, and anoint his head with oil. This, the Psalmist proclaims, is the way to a good life, a happy life, and true fulfilment.

There’s much to be thankful for in today’s reading. Reflect on how goodness and love has followed you thus far, and tell God that you will continue to accept his lead so that it will continue to follow you all of your days.