Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Happiness of Being Chosen by God

Blessed is the man You choose,
And cause to approach You,
That he may dwell in Your courts.
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house,
Of Your holy temple.
(Psalm 65:4)
Here again is the gracious invitation of God. The initiative always belongs to Him. No one could ever presume to invite himself into the presence of the Lord. For one thing, He is holy and man is sinful. For another, He is sovereign and powerful, and does as He wishes; no one is able to come to Him unless He beckons.

But God is not only sovereign, He is love, and in His love, He was unwilling for man, whom He created in His own image and likeness, to remain separated from Him by sin. So in His sovereignty, He created a way for sinful man to be reconciled to Him and to once again enjoy His presence. That is why David begins this psalm with celebration:
Praise is awaiting You, O God, in Zion;
And to You the vow shall be performed.
O You who hear prayer,
To You all flesh will come.
Iniquities prevail against me;
As for our transgressions,
You will provide atonement for them.
(Psalm 65:1-3)
That is why Jesus came: to provide atonement for all our sin. He did not just cover them over, but completely removed them. The Bible says that He became sin for us so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). He took our sins and nailed them, in His own body, to the cross. And now the invitation can be given by a holy God, even as Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” (John 12:32). Because of what Jesus has done, we can have access into the presence of God:
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
We can enter into the presence of God with boldness and confidence because of what Jesus our High Priest has done for us. For it is God, not we ourselves, who brings us near to Him.
What is this happiness? Dwelling in the courts of God. This is not just visiting God on certain occasions, but taking up residence with Him, to enjoy continual fellowship with Him. That has been God’s desire for us all along. This was also the cry of David’s heart, as expressed in Psalm 27:4.
One thing I have desire of the LORD,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in His temple.
This brings along with it many other benefits, as David describes in Psalm 65:
By awesome deeds in righteousness You will answer us,
O God of our salvation,
You who are the confidence of all the ends of the earth,
And of the far-off seas …
You visit the earth and water it,
You greatly enrich it;
The river of God is full of water;
You provide their grain
For so You have prepared it.
You water its ridges abundantly,
You settle its furrows;
You make it soft with showers,
You bless its growth.
You crown the year with Your goodness,
And Your paths drip with abundance.
They drop on the pastures of the wilderness,
And the little hills rejoice on every side.
The pastures are clothed with flocks;
They valleys also are covered with grain;
They shout for joy, the also sing.
(Psalm 65:5, 9-13)
When we are set right within the presence of God, it not only brings abundance and prosperity, but it even affects the world around us. Our happiness in God begins to bring everything into proper alignment.

Oh, the deep, deep happiness of being chosen by God, invited to live continually in His presence, forgiven and set right in Jesus Christ. It not only changes your life — it changes your world.

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