V. A DWELLING PLACE FOR GOD
The first point in this Psalm concerns God’s move on this earth. The second is His victory in Christ; where God moves, God wins the victory. Following this, the third point, the ascension of Christ, issues in the fourth point, the gifts for the building. Fifthly, a dwelling place is built up for God by the gifts. God moves, God wins the victory in Christ over all the enemies, Christ ascends, Christ receives all the gifts, and then the house of God is built. Praise the Lord, now God has a house to dwell in, a dwelling place on this earth among men, even among the rebellious.
This dwelling place is not only a habitation for God, but also for us. In verse 5 we read, “A father of the fatherless, and a protector of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.” In ancient times God’s habitation was the tabernacle, but today His habitation is the church. In one sense, we are all the fatherless; we are the widows. But in the local church God is our God. We enjoy God as the God of the helpless in His dwelling place. Verse 6 says, “God placeth the solitary in families and giveth the desolate a home to dwell in.” The local church on one hand is the family and on the other hand is our home. Before you came into the church, you were solitary because you had no family, and you were desolate because you had no home. Now in God’s dwelling place you have the family with the home. Verse 10: “Thy flock found a dwelling place in it (in the rain-watered land—v. 9): thou, O God, didst prepare it in thy goodness for the needy.” God’s dwelling place is for us, the needy ones.
Verses 15 and 16: “The mighty mountain, Mount Bashan; the many-peaked mountain, Mount Bashan; why do ye look with envy, ye many-peaked mountains, at the mountain which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the Lord will dwell in it forever.” I believe that this is the best translation of these verses. (The word for God in Hebrew is “mighty”; therefore the translators of the King James version called Mount Bashan “the hill of God.” But if we translate the Hebrew word “mighty” as “God” in this verse, it is really difficult to understand. This verse does not mean that.) Mount Bashan is a mighty mountain, a mount in the heathen land east of Jordan. In the translation we have given, the meaning is clear. Mount Zion is the mount which God desires to dwell in, and the other mountains, or rather the many-peaked mountain, looks upon the mountain of God with envy. We have experienced this. Some of the denominations, the many-peaked mountain, are envious of the local churches. Many times they would say, “Why do the local churches get the blessing?” It is because God dwells in Zion—that is the only reason. God desires to dwell in the local churches, and all the blessing comes from His presence. Yea, the Lord will dwell here forever. He has a dwelling place here on this earth in the local churches! “The chariots of God are twenty thousands, even thousands upon thousands; the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the sanctuary” (v. 17). Hallelujah!
VI. THE ENJOYMENT OF GOD
After God’s dwelling place is built, we have the enjoyment in God’s house of all that God is, all that God does, and all that God can do. This is the sixth point in this Psalm. After verse 18 concerning God’s dwelling, we have such rich enjoyment in verses 19 and 20: “Blessed be the Lord: day by day doth he load us with good, the God who is our salvation. Selah. God is unto us a God of deliverances; and with God, the Lord, are the goings forth even from death.” In the house, in the church, in the sanctuary, God loads us with good day by day; hence we enjoy His goods; we enjoy His salvation, His deliverances, and His goings forth even from death. The going forth from death is a real deliverance. If we could go forth from death, we could go forth from the enemy. Everyone knows that whenever death comes to visit, there is no escape. This is really so. But we Christians may say today that whenever we are confronted with death, we can go forth from death. What a deliverance! We enjoy God; we experience God as our deliverance, as our going forth from death.
Moreover, in the house of God we enjoy His glorious victory. “But God will smite the head of the enemies…The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring (thine enemies) again from the depth of the (Red) sea, that thou mayest crush them, dipping thy foot in the blood, and the tongue of thy dogs may have its portion from (thine) enemies” (vv. 21-23). God has defeated all His enemies: Bashan has been defeated by Him, the Egyptians have been drowned by Him in the Red Sea. All His foes are vanquished. Today, there is no need for Him to repeat His victory. Today, in the local churches, in the sanctuary, we may apply His victory. In these three verses it is as if the Lord had said, “If you do not believe that all My enemies have been defeated, I will demonstrate My victory to you. I will bring Pharaoh and his hosts from the depths of the Red Sea and demonstrate their defeat again.” Before the house was built up, it was time for the Lord to defeat His enemies. But since the house has been built, there is no need for the Lord to repeat His victory. We only need to apply His victory.
(Christ and the Church Revealed and Typified in the Psalms, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)