David could draw near, but not too near. He could approach, but he couldn’t enter. Though He knew what was behind the curtain, there was no way he could venture behind the curtain. David was king . . . but he wasn’t priest. And so, when David went to the sanctuary, he beheld the outer-workings of the inner reality. But, as I hover over Psalm 63 this morning, David also saw something more than just slicing and dicing and sacrifices . . . something more than the priests fulfilling their duty. When David encountered the sanctuary he beheld God’s power and glory.
O God, You are my God; earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary, beholding Your power and glory. (Psalm 63:1-2 ESV)
Psalm 63 is a song of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah. And in that dry and barren place the king seeks the presence of His God. His soul thirsts . . . his flesh faints.
And from what reserve does David pull? From that which he has seen and known of God’s power and glory. And where did he come to know and look upon such things? In the sanctuary.
” . . . he looked through the veil of ceremonies to the invisible One.” – Spurgeon
For many, the temple was but the place of ritual. The sacrifice but the price for being religious. But for David, to go to the temple was to enter into the presence of God. He would lay his hand on the sacrifice, identify with it from his inner being, and offer it in whole-hearted worship. And, in so doing, he would reflect afresh on the holiness of God and the provision of blood to allow man to draw near to such glory. He would remember the deliverance of God, the mighty hand which rescues, and know again the power of God to save.
Because of those sanctuary experiences, when in the desert, David could remember on his bed, and meditate in the watches of the night, of that which he beheld of God’s power and glory.
And the question comes to me, “When you are in the sanctuary, Pete, do you see the power and glory of God?”
When we gather with the saints, . . . when we enter the household of God — not a physical building — but when we come together and become that which is “a holy temple in the Lord . . . a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Eph. 2:21-22) . . . as living stones who are “built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1Peter 2:5) . . . when we enter that sanctuary, do we behold the power and glory of God?
Or, is it the same old, same old? Sing a few songs . . . shake a few hands . . . listen to a sermon . . . give a few bucks . . . and then outta there.
Instead, shouldn’t we enter with awe, knowing that we stand among souls who have been purchased with the blood of the Son of God. Shouldn’t our jaws drop at the thought that we gather as a flock which has been called, by name, into communion with the Great Shepherd. Shouldn’t wonder prevail as we consider that, as we come together, He has determined to be active in our midst, inhabiting the praise of His people?
As the sacrifice of praise, the fruit of our lips, is offered up, do we see it as a sweet smelling aroma ascending to the pleasure of the Father? And not from outside the veil, but from within the very holy of holies, having been given boldness to approach His throne of grace. As the word is preached, do we receive it, as it is, as the very word of God and know again the reality of the indwelling Spirit of God teaching us and feeding us?
Perhaps if we entered the sanctuary as David did, seeing God’s power and His glory in our midst, then, in those desert times, we too would have remembrances and meditations to draw upon for the thirsting soul and the fainting flesh.
So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary, beholding Your power and glory.