Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
We often think of God as living in heaven, and rightfully so.
Psalm 11:4 declares that the Lord is in His holy temple in heaven; Revelation 4 even describes the Throne Room of God there. And yet, the Bible also tells us that He is omnipresent, or present in every place at the same time. Acts 7:49 asserts that heaven is God’s throne and the earth is His footstool. In addition, we are told in the New Testament that God lives inside each believer through the Holy Spirit.
Clearly, God is everywhere. So why does He single out the praises of God’s people as a place He inhabits? Isn’t that redundant?
“But you are holy, you who inhabit the praises of Israel.”
-Psalm 22:3 (WEB)
The Hebrew word יָשַׁב yâshab is commonly translated as “to inhabit” or “enthroned.” It means to sit, to dwell, or to live.
The word is used throughout the Old Testament when the Scriptures speak of people dwelling, or settling in a place. The word also has the connotation of sitting as a judge.
From His place in heaven, God seems remote, disconnected from our world. It’s easy to blame Him for our problems, to see Him as uncaring and unloving. At times, He may feel to us like the cold authoritarian.
Nothing could be further from the truth. God dwells in heaven, but He wants to be enthroned in our hearts.
He yearns for us to trust His plan for our lives; to understand and appreciate Him for who He is, even when we don’t comprehend what He is doing. For us, the temptation is great to see God mostly as a provider of good stuff. When He doesn’t appear to be measuring up to our expectations, we complain. But like any loving father, God wants more than just to be the person with the open wallet. God wants relationship. He wants to share the riches of fellowship with us. He wants to hear from us and to talk with us.
When we set down our list of wants and consider all that our Lord is and has done for us, we can’t help but praise Him. From that wellspring of gratitude and revelation erupts a fountain of joy.
Ours, and His.
God abides in our worship. He is near to a grateful, though broken heart. His authority and royal nature are displayed in all their beauty when we yield sovereignty of our lives to Him. God inhabits, fills, abides, rejoices, and lives in our praise; not because He needs the validation, but because we need the reminder. Praise destroys the lies of the enemy and exalts the King.
The Lord your God is in your midst,
A victorious warrior.
He will exult over you with joy,
He will be quiet in His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
– Zephaniah 3:17