Do You Love the Habitation of God… The Place Where His Glory Dwells? (Psalm 26: With an Emphasis on Verse 8)

Psalms 26 (ESV)
“Vindicate me, O LORD,
for I have walked in my integrity,
and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
Prove me, O LORD, and try me;
test my heart and my mind.
For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in your faithfulness.
I do not sit with men of falsehood,
nor do I consort with hypocrites.
I hate the assembly of evildoers,
and I will not sit with the wicked.
I wash my hands in innocence
and go around your altar, O LORD,
proclaiming thanksgiving aloud,
and telling all your wondrous deeds.
O LORD, I love the habitation of your house
and the place where your glory dwells.

Do not sweep my soul away with sinners,
nor my life with bloodthirsty men,
in whose hands are evil devices,
and whose right hands are full of bribes.
But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity;
redeem me, and be gracious to me.
My foot stands on level ground;
in the great assembly I will bless the LORD.”

The Regenerate

When you read this psalm, it is clear that the type of person who is speaking is regenerate. Another way to say it is… this psalm describes someone who is spiritually renewed, or as Jesus would say, “born again.” (John 3:3)

The unregenerate person might make the proclamation of verse 1, saying that they have walked with integrity. This is not so outrages in a fallen world. Fallen men and women constantly claim that they are a “good person.” However, they cannot say with any true authenticity (as it says in the opening verses about the regenerate person), that they have walked with integrity and trust in the Lord without wavering to the degree where they would not only welcome, but encourage God to test them (to inspect their mind and heart).

When a person is actually known by God (regenerate if you will), such a confidence would never come without including the disclaimer of verse 2… a willingness to be tried by their Creator. Only the born again person would welcome God’s trying of their heart and mind.

Proverbs brings this notion out…

Proverbs 10:17 (ESV)
“Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.”

The point that I’m offering here is that the regenerate person truly understands that when tested by God, they will come through such a test in the ultimate sense with success.

Why?

Because, as the third verse says…

Psalms 26:3 (ESV)
“For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in your faithfulness.”

In other words, the regenerate person understands that they have vindication, that they have walked with integrity, that they have trusted the Lord without wavering, and that they are willing to have their heart and mind tested by God.

Why?

Because, they know that they are steadfastly loved by God, and they also know that they walk in their Lord’s faithfulness (God’s sustaining power), as opposed to the unregenerate who walk in their own self-regard.

The Hebrew word here for “faithfulness” is eh-meth (emeth). Some other ways of saying what is being described with this word “faithfulness” is… stability, continuance, reliableness, and sureness with respect to a performed promise.

In other words, the psalmist knows that it is God who promises to provide him with…

1) that integrity,
2) that unwavering trust in his Lord,
3) and that confidence to survive God’s testing.

The “born again” person of today, just as the psalmist, walks in the Lord’s faithfulness and steadfast love, where the unregenerate person walks in their own false confidence and self-love.

This psalm does not describe the arrogant words of a conceited renegade. No… it describes the words of a humble submissive, who understands who his Lord is. And, as it describes in verse 1, he trusts in the Lord, not himself, because (as alluded to in verse 3) he depends on God who is faithful, to provide said trust…

Psalms 26:1-3 (ESV)
“Vindicate me, O LORD,
for I have walked in my integrity,
and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
Prove me, O LORD, and try me;
test my heart and my mind.
For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in your faithfulness.”

The psalmist goes on…

Psalms 26:4-12 (ESV)
“I do not sit with men of falsehood,
nor do I consort with hypocrites.
I hate the assembly of evildoers,
and I will not sit with the wicked.
I wash my hands in innocence
and go around your altar, O LORD,
proclaiming thanksgiving aloud,
and telling all your wondrous deeds.
O LORD, I love the habitation of your house
and the place where your glory dwells.
Do not sweep my soul away with sinners,
nor my life with bloodthirsty men,
in whose hands are evil devices,
and whose right hands are full of bribes.
But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity;
redeem me, and be gracious to me.
My foot stands on level ground;
in the great assembly I will bless the LORD.”

To the unregenerate, the reading of this psalm might seem arrogant.

But, it’s not.

The only way that a person truly could…

1) not sit with men of falsehood,
2) not consort with hypocrites,
3) hate the assembly of evildoers,
4) and not sit with the wicked…

…is if God had provided such desire and ability.

Only by the power of God could a person…

1) have hands washed in innocence,
2) have the access needed to go around God’s altar,
3) proclaim thanksgiving aloud,
4) and tell of God’s wondrous deeds.

The unregenerate do not do such things. They do not have such access.

Only the regenerate person would (as verse 8 says)…

Psalms 26:8 (ESV)
“…love the habitation of your house
and the place where your glory dwells.”

(We will come back to verse 8 in a moment.)

Only the regenerate would make this request of God…

Psalms 26:9-10 ESV)
“Do not sweep my soul away with sinners,
nor my life with bloodthirsty men,
in whose hands are evil devices,
and whose right hands are full of bribes.”
Again, the unregenerate do not long for such things.

Are you familiar with the song “Only the Good Die Young” by Billy Joel?

There is a line in that song which describes what the unregenerate person desires…

“I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
The sinners are much more fun…
You know that only the good die young”

The Bible also addresses this same, cavalier attitude of the unregenerate mindset in both the book of Isaiah and in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. This quote (found in both books) represents the fallen approach to life…

“Let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we die.”

These examples give us a glimpse of the unregenerate mind, which are in opposition to what the psalmist describes.

The last 2 verses of the Psalm bring us back to its beginning…

Psalms 26:11-12 (ESV)
“But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity;
redeem me, and be gracious to me.
My foot stands on level ground;
in the great assembly I will bless the LORD.”

Here, we are reminded of the integrity given to the psalmist by God, which is followed up by the humble admittance that redemption is needed. He then pleads for grace… something which only the Lord can provide.

And then, in the final verse, the psalmist looks to the future with confidence.

Why?

Because, he stands on the level ground which is God Himself. As a result, the psalmist then knows that he will bless the Lord with the rest of the saints in the great assembly.

A Quick Review

So, what has been brought out so far…

Psalm 26 describes the qualities which the regenerate person has or exemplifies. Because of God’s steadfast love and His faithfulness, the regenerate person…

1) walks with integrity,
2) trusts the Lord,
3) is confident that if tested by God, they would come through that test,
4) does not sit with men of falsehood,
5) does not consort with hypocrites,
6) hates the assembly of evil doers,
7) does not stand with the wicked,
8) has hands which were washed in innocence,
9) goes around God’s alter (has a direct access to God),
10) proclaims thanksgiving aloud,
11) tells of His wondrous deeds,
12) loves the habitation of the Lord’s house, the place where His glory dwells,
13) desires to not have their soul swept away with sinners,
14) does not desire to live life with bloodthirsty men, whose hands are evil devices, whose right hands are full of bribes,
15) recognizes their need for redemption,
16) recognizes their need for God’s grace,
17) knows with confidence that they stand on level ground,
18) and that they will bless the Lord in the great assembly.

All of these things together give us a picture of what the regenerate person looks like.

But, of all of these things, one stands out from amongst the rest…

Psalms 26:8 (ESV)
“O LORD, I love the habitation of your house
and the place where your glory dwells.”

Why does this one in particular stand out?

Because, this particular aspect is magnified greatly in the New Covenant.

We will get there in a moment, but first we must look at where God’s habitation was during the time of the Old Covenant…

Old Covenant

During the time of the Exodus, God’s habitation was in the tabernacle…

Exodus 25:8-9 (ESV)
“And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it.”

And, within the tabernacle sat the Ark of the Covenant…

Exodus 25:22 (ESV)
“There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.”

During the time from Joshua to Samuel, the Ark of the Covenant was in a tent Shiloh…

Joshua 18:1 (ESV)
“Then the whole congregation of the people of Israel assembled at Shiloh and set up the tent of meeting there. The land lay subdued before them.”

At the time of Samuel, the Ark was brought by the Israelites into a losing battle with the Philistines, where it was then captured by them…

1 Samuel 4:10-11 (ESV)
“So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and they fled, every man to his home. And there was a very great slaughter, for thirty thousand foot soldiers of Israel fell. And the ark of God was captured.”

But, after it caused seven months of turmoil in enemy hands, the Ark of God was released by the Philistines…

1 Samuel 6:1-2 (ESV)
“The ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months. And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us with what we shall send it to its place.””

(I recommend reading the rest of that narrative; it’s quite the story.)

Upon the Ark’s return to Israel…

1 Samuel 7:1-2 (ESV)
“And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took up the ark of the Lord and brought it to the house of Abinadab on the hill. And they consecrated his son Eleazar to have charge of the ark of the Lord. From the day that the ark was lodged at Kiriath-jearim, a long time passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.”

Later, David would bring the Ark to Jerusalem…

2 Chronicles 1:4 (ESV)
“(But David had brought up the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim to the place that David had prepared for it, for he had pitched a tent for it in Jerusalem.)”

It then remained in a tent until the building of the temple by his son Solomon…

2 Chronicles 5:7 (ESV)
“Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the Most Holy Place, underneath the wings of the cherubim.”

Authorship

The author of Psalm 26 is not known for certain. Most scholars think it was David, and most translations declare it as being a Psalm “of David.”

But, regardless of whether David was its author or not, he certainly also took very seriously the importance of God’s habitation. In 2 Samuel 7, it describes how he had sorrowfully approached Nathan the prophet, saying to him…

2 Samuel 7:2 (ESV)
“See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.”

Later that same night, God spoke to Nathan. He told Nathan to reiterate to David that it would be David’s offspring who would build His house, and not him.

Solomon would build that house of cedar… but Christ would build something greater!

God’s Habitation

Why did the psalmist love God’s habitation?

Because, it’s the place where God’s glory dwells

Psalms 26:8 (ESV)
“O LORD, I love the habitation of your house
and the place where your glory dwells.”

A similar sentiment is expressed in the very next Psalm. In Psalm 27:4 it says…

Psalms 27:4 (ESV)
“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.”

New Covenant

So, where is God’s habitation right now?

BELIEVERS!!

Paul would later rhetorically challenge the Corinthians with a question, due to the sinful divisions among them. It reveals an incredible reality…

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (ESV)
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”

To the Church in Ephesus Paul wrote…

Ephesians 2:19-22 (ESV)
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”

Well, how does this habitation take place?

According to Ephesians 3:17… Christ dwells in our hearts through faith.

And, why does Christ dwell within us?

So that we…

Ephesians 3:17b-19 (ESV)
“…being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

And, how are we (Christians) supposed to respond to those who are also the dwelling place of God?

Here’s Jesus…

John 13:34-35 (ESV)
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Later, John would quote Jesus as He prayed to the Father. It reveals that when we are one, something remarkable happens. The world then believes…

John 17:20-21 (ESV)
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

We must love the habitation of God so that…

…we may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ and our life together in Him.

We must love the habitation of God so that…

…we know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.

We must love the habitation of God so that…

…we may be filled with all the fullness of God.

We must love the habitation of God so that…

…all people will know that we are His disciples.

We must love the habitation of God so that…

…the world may believe that the Father has sent the Son.

Again, verse 8…

Psalms 26:8 (ESV)
“O LORD, I love the habitation of your house
and the place where your glory dwells.”

Question

I must ask you…

Do you love the habitation of God… the place where His glory dwells?

1 John 4:20 (ESV)
“If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”

I want to end with what Peter says is “Above all…”

1 Peter 4:8-11 (ESV)
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

Godspeed, to the brethren!

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