Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?
(Psalm 15:1, NIV)
God, who gets invited to dinner at your place?
How do we get on your guest list?
(Psalm 15:1, The Message)
Years ago, I took a trip to the Middle East with a group of people led by Pastor George DeJong. George helped us experience the exodus–beginning our trip in Egypt, wandering the Sinai Desert and eventually ending up in Jerusalem. George was a great teacher and guide, and he was always full of surprises. On one excursion, we hiked up Mt. Sinai where God had invited Moses thousands of years ago to spend time with Him and receive the Commandments. It was a transforming experience to stand on that mountain…and it was an exhausting 14-hour hike! We left before sunrise and returned after sunset, but when we came down from the mountain, George had a surprise for us. We had been invited to the tent of a local sheik for a feast of roast goat and other delicacies. Our host welcomed us graciously, telling us that “Any friend of George is a friend of mine as well!” It had been a hard journey, but it was followed by an awesome feast!
In Psalm 15, David-the-worshipper once again begins by asking God a question, “Lord, who may dwell in your tabernacle?” Or as Eugene Peterson translates it in The Message, “God, who gets invited to dinner at your place?” David then answers his own question—the one whose walk is blameless…whose tongue is under control…whose attitudes align with God…whose integrity and commitment is unwavering…who treats the poor and innocent fairly. Looking at David’s list we might come to the conclusion that no one qualifies! Maybe it’s not possible to be on God’s guest list!
But God’s not the kind of host that wants to have dinner all by Himself in His big, empty tent. God wants to throw a party for the ages! True, not just anyone gets to come, so how do we get on the guest list. There are only two ways—we’ve got to be perfect enough, or we’ve got to be “connected.” Sadly, no one is perfect enough…but amazingly, anyone can be connected.
In John 14, Jesus, God’s Son, told his disciples that he was going to his Father’s house to prepare a place for them, and that he was going to come back and take them to live with him there forever. I can imagine the Father’s loving face saying, “Any friend of my Son’s is a friend of mine!”
Of course, God does want us to live the kind of life David describes in Psalm 15…the kind of life that can change the world we live in. But we can only do it if we are changed from the inside—if we invite Christ to live in us. When we let God occupy our house it changes everything about us now, and it secures our invitation to His house forever! It’s a hard journey, but it ends with an awesome feast!
If you want to find real life today and forever, there’s only one way–invite Jesus in and see what he can do in you and through you. Stay thirsty for Jesus!