What a wonderful treasure we have in the book of Psalms! Throughout this amazing collection of song, prose and poetry, the rich themes are like threads, woven together creating this beautiful tapestry of holy literature. The well of biblical truths is so deep that if we started right now we would have enough material to study for the rest of our days!
My favorite author of those credited for writing the book, is David. This worshipping warrior penned prolific lyrics of whole hearted worship, pouring out his heart in adoration for His God!
Psalm 145 “I will extol You, my God, O King and I will bless Your, name forever and ever!...
Psalm 8 “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!”
He also wasn’t afraid to show his weaknesses and failures when life knocked him down flat! Broken, completely shattered and crying out in despair,
Psalm 3:7 “Arise, O Lord, Save me, O my God!”
Psalm 59:1“Deliver me frommy enemies, O my God!”
Psalm 61:1-2 “Hear my cry, O God, attend to my prayer! From the ends of the earth I will cry to You, WHEN MY HEART IS OVERWHELMED; LEAD ME TO THE ROCK THAT IS HIGHER THAN I!”
Oh yes, I can relate to David.
But the thing about David that most inspires me is his passionate pursuit for an intimate, deep relationship with his Jehovah God. Throughout his passages, it is clear that he is BURNING with desire for the Presence of God! In fact, he CRAVES Him!
Psalm 42: 1-2 “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the LIVING GOD!”
Psalm 63:1 “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land…”
WOW! He relentlessly ran after God’s heart his entire life and most assuredly experienced holy habitation. Habitation means, the place one lives, resides or inhabits. We’re talking about where God HANGS OUT! It’s the indwelling Presence, the secret place of the Most High (Ps. 91).
How did David get there? Did he, alone, have the gift of hunger? Was he born with it? Did God choose only David from all of His people to get close to Him, to KNOW Him? ABSOLUTELY NOT! From Creation to this very moment, our heavenly Father has purposed and desired that ALL mankind seek His face. That means, He wants you and me!
John 15: 4 “Abide in Me and I in You.”
James 4: 8 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you!”
Notice...the ball is in our court.
But back to my question, how did David get there? Was it a supernatural visitation, a ‘Damascus Road” experience? Was it a special conference or revival meeting? The truth of the matter is, David PRACTICED HABITATION. He made it a practice to make a habit out of habitation with God. WOW, AGAIN!
Let me illustrate: I am in my 35th year of piano teaching and believe me, I’ve taught students of every age, size, shape, religion, culture, race, tribe and creed. The one thing they all have had in common is a condition I like to call, “Practicitus.” Eventually, the newness wears off, the honeymoon is over and they say, “I don’t want to PRACTICE.” Oh, they all want to perform on that stage at recital, but most of them do not want to do the daily practice that it takes to get them there. You see it’s not particularly hard to start something; it’s the sticking with it that’s the tough part. Learning to play a musical instrument is not a skill that you learn overnight. It’s a long term commitment that requires patience, discipline and most of all CONSISTENCY. You just can’t hit and miss. Proficiency takes practice, even when you don’t feel like it, even when you don’t have time and even when you see little progress or sometimes, none at all. So, I offer prizes, rewards and yes, sometimes hard cash to get them to practice. I also equip them with PRACTICE TIPS and weekly plans to get the job done. Which brings me to my all time favorite PRACTICE TIP:
ONLY PRACTICE ON THE DAYS YOU EAT
Okay, think on it a minute...yep, point taken.
I tell my students, make practice a normal part of your daily life, establish this good habit. It will reap the rewards of skill, muscle memory and the blessing that music can bring to enrich your life.
Our relationship with Jesus is a life long journey beginning with the commitment of salvation and continuing on every single day for the rest of our lives developing that relationship with our Lord. And that my friends, takes practice. We cannot rely on Sunday and Wednesday night meetings or conferences and revivals alone to take us there. Please understand that I’m not speaking of a ‘works driven’ theology. No, not at all! This is living the abundant life (John 10:10); it’s the fullness of joy! (Psalm 16:11); it’s my cup running over! (Psalm 23)
Now do I do this every day? Have I always gotten it right? Hardly...I’ve missed it more often than not but God’s amazing grace covers me, all the time.
So, I encourage you to GO FOR IT! Practice habitation...even when you don’t feel like it, even when you don’t have time, even when your progress seems small or not at all. The rewards will be eternal.
The teacher in me would like to leave you with a few ‘practice tips’ to check out:
1. PRACTICE TALKING TO GOD: Eph. 6:18Pray, all the time, all day long! Converse, discuss, pray in the Spirit, pray on the go.
2. PRACTICE LISTENING TO GOD: Listen for that still small Voice that speaks to your heart in all occasions, constantly. 1 Kings 19:11-12
3. PRACTICE THE WORD: Get IN THE WORD OF GOD! Read it, chew on it, swallow it, memorize it, Hide it in your heart, Ps. 119
4. PRACTICE PRAISE, THANKSGIVING: Psalm 100
5. PRACTICE ENJOYING HIS PRESENCE: Learn to bask in His love, everywhere, all day, constantly… Song of Solomon
Oh, and one more thing:
ONLY PRACTICE ON THE DAYS YOU EAT
“Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house, and the place where Your glory dwells.” Psalm 26:8
- Linda Walker