God, who gets invited to dinner at your place? How do we get on your guest list? (Psalm 15:1, The Message)
[The book of psalms is our songbook of life—in celebration or grief, in confidence or confusion, in joy or anger or despair. I invite you to read and reflect on these songs of life wherever YOU are this week. Read the psalm, read my reflection below, then consider posting and sharing your own observations at the bottom of the page. Today’s devotion is adapted from a post on November 15, 2018]
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 isn’t the kind of host that wants to have dinner all by Himself in some big, fancy tent. God wants to throw a party for the ages! True, not just anyone gets to come, so how can 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” enough. Sadly, no one is perfect enough…but amazingly, anyone can become connected! God Himself has made a way, and it’s called grace. Despite our shortcomings and our weakness, God’s grace is enough. His power is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
How do we get connected?
Near the end of John’s gospel, God’s Son Jesus comforts his disciples when he says, “I no longer call you servants…Instead, I have called you friends” (John 15:15). All their fallings and failings no longer disqualify them, because God’s love and grace is enough. Jesus reassures them by telling them that he is going to his Father’s house to prepare a place for them, and that he is coming back to take them home to live with him there forever (John 14:1-4).
I can imagine the Father’s loving face saying, “Any friend of my Son’s is a friend of mine! Welcome to the feast!”
Of course, this God-pleasing life isn’t just for “some people, someday,” it’s for “anyone today.” Jesus wants each of us to live the kind of life David describes in Psalm 15—the kind of life that changes the world we live in. But we can only do it if we are changed first from the inside—if we invite Christ to live in us and receive his gift of life-changing grace. When we allow God to occupy our house it changes everything about us now, and it secures our invitation to His house forever! It will be a difficult journey, but it ends with an awesome feast!
If you want to find that kind of real life today and forever, there’s only one way—get connected to Jesus! invite him in and see what his grace can do in you and through you. Stay thirsty!