Taking thoughts captive

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Favorite smells: mown hay, turned earth, summer rain, line-dried laundry

05 February 2010

Light in the Land of the Living

Psalm 27 is that beautiful Psalm that begins:

The LORD is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life:
of whom shall I be afraid?

Verse 4 says:

One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after;
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD,
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to inquire in his temple.

This morning I was struck by the phrase "all the days of my life," particularly when considering the end of the Psalm:

I believe that I shall look upon
the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living!
Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD!

The phrase "in the land of the living" also struck me. My tendency is to read promises of blessing and think only of future hope that will be fulfilled in heaven.

But David makes plain in this Psalm that our hope isn't an ephemeral "pie-in-the-sky-going-to-heaven-when-I-die" hope that is only for the future. Our hope is also for here and now.

David desires to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of his life. Although I believe this desire includes life after death, it also seems to encompass this earthly life. The Bible often uses the phrase "all the days of his life" to indicate a believer's sojourn on earth. David knows he will gaze on God's beauty in heaven, but he also wants to recognize it now. He wants to recognize and revel in God's beauty. Not only the beauty of stunning sunrises and jeweled humingbirds in God's creation, but also the beauty of orchestrated events and personal blessings in God's providence. These reflect God's beauty to David and David reflects on them while he lives. He lives in a hopeful awareness of God's beauty, while seeking God's will by inquiring in his temple.

The idea of earthly experience as a foretaste of heavenly hope is reiterated firmly in the Psalm's conclusion. David believes that he will look upon God's goodness before he dies and goes to heaven, while he's still in the land of the living.

Now that's an encouraging thought! We all wait on the Lord. Some of us wait for the birth of a grandchild; some of us wait for deliverance from this body of death. Some of us wait for good news; some of us wait for bad reports. Some periods of waiting are more difficult than others, but we all wait.

Psalm 27 shows us that we can wait with with hope, looking to the Lord who is our light in the land of the living.

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Blogger Annette Gysen said...


I tried to e-mail you but I don't have your correct e-mail address. Just wanted to suggest that you consider writing a devotional book--for women maybe. Posts like this one are insightful, edifying, and thought-provoking. Just a thought . . .

Annette Gysen

2/5/10, 1:07 PM  
Blogger Glenda said...

Thanks for your suggestion and encouragement, Annette! Writing a devotional is definitely something I have considered and continue to consider. Perhaps I can begin working on that as soon as some other writing commitments are met!

2/6/10, 5:21 AM  

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