And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever. Psalm 23:6b NJKV
Even when camping in the open country, I need it.
Security is a God-created basic human need. From the moment of birth, I felt it when my mom and dad cradled me in their arms. They continued to make me feel secure by changing my diapers, rocking me to sleep, feeding me, and giving me milk and juice to drink. They supplied all my basic needs.
As I grew older and needed my parents less, I still needed security. I found it by getting a job so I could pay my living expenses. I discovered it by renting or buying a home to live in that kept me out of the elements. I felt it also by putting locks on my doors and windows to keep unwanted people out.
When my wife and I camp, many of those elements in a home that make me feel secure are missing. But I still need to feel secure. Instead of sleeping in the open under the stars, we bed down in a tent and make sure the fly is zipped tightly. This way, no snakes or other unwanted night creatures can slither in. Somehow closing the tent makes me feel secure against bears also, even though I know that wouldn’t keep one out if he wanted to get in.
We also take along extension cords so we can plug our phones into a power source. We feel secure if we have a way to maintain contact with the outside world. We carry food and drink. Although we leave the comforts of our home, we still take the basic things that make us feel secure.
In Psalm 23, the psalmist pictures an entire year in the life of a sheep. From the spring at the shepherd’s home to the green pastures of the high country during the summer and then back to the shepherd’s dwelling for the fall and winter. All throughout the sheep’s year-long journey, the shepherd supplies their needs, giving them a sense of security.
David experienced this same care from his Shepherd. Now, he wanted to dwell in His house forever. We often think about the church when reading this verse, but David had no church building to attend. He did, however, have heaven, as he understood it, to look forward to.
David boasted about the hope his good Shepherd gave him, and we should too. God gives us everything we need to feel secure, including salvation. He promises to meet our needs: physically, spiritually, and emotionally. And not only in this life but also in the life to come. Eternity is ours. He won’t take from us—salvation—what He has given us freely and what we couldn’t earn even if we had tried. A part of God’s promise is a new heaven and a new earth.
Telling others about our good Shepherd is one way we express our gratitude for God’s blessings. Loving God’s church is another. Christ died for the church, and our eternal security is represented by what the church is about and the message she proclaims.
When we’ve made our peace with God, we can dwell in His presence forever, which is the better meaning of what David says. While on earth, we enjoy the presence of God’s Spirit, and after death, we’ll enjoy seeing our Savior face to face.
Don’t live without a sure hope in your future.