Psalm 5:3-7 Stepping Into the Temple

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
    in the morning I lay my requests before you
    and wait expectantly.
For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;
    with you, evil people are not welcome.
The arrogant cannot stand
    in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong;
    you destroy those who tell lies.
The bloodthirsty and deceitful
    you, Lord, detest.
But I, by your great love,
    can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
    toward your holy temple.
                                                    Psalm 5: 3-7

In many psalms, our relationship with God is often contrasted with people who rebel against Him. There will always be people who inconvenience, or even physically hurt us. The world is broken, as are we all. We do nothing perfectly, and some more than others find themselves wandering off the sidewalk into the dark alleys of life, living far from where God wants us to be. Does He hate us because we've strayed? We like to say, "God hates the sin but loves the sinner." So much in the Bible confirms this simple thought. God loves us, whether we're in His light or lost in the dark. The stuff we do against His will, however, he hates.

The above passages ends with entering God's temple, His sanctuary. Imagine being assaulted by the world's chaos every day. City street noises, cars honking, cell phones beeping for attention. People shout from windows, desperate eyes follow you on the street. The smell of diesel and stink of alleys. You are stressed, even frightened as you stumble to the doors of a church. They are unlocked so you step inside. The heavy wood doors close and… silence.

Blessed silence. Smells from the street are cut off. All around dances the light tang of incense. Sweet memory of candles. In the cavernous distance beyond the lead glass inner doors someone sings. Step through the doors, enter a sanctuary so large and open and full of a peace which you don't understand yet wraps you in its arms. You not only feel relief from the outside chaos, you forget about it completely. There is only here, now, the hushed warm voices, flickering candlelight and lingering scent of the soap used to wash the floor earlier that morning. All of it carries a sense of peace.

Every inch of our world and everything beyond that belongs to God. This, here, is His temple. An oasis of light in the midst of dark; of silence amid noise. According to David, who wrote this prayer, only those following God's will may enter the temple, but this is not true, all respect to the king.

Anyone may enter. In fact, doing so might lead to the first time they taste and see the goodness of the Lord. If they were not allowed into His house, how would this experience ever occur? To feel God's presence in this holy place, in this moment?

God hates the sin, but loves the sinner. When someone, anyone, is in a place like this (whether an actual church or a metaphor) they find it hard to sin. When the chaos bombarding their mind and soul is silenced, suddenly all is right with the world; for that moment they discover what real peace feels like. They have experienced the presence of God.

For some, being in this holy place opens us to something beyond the dark mirror of our lives. When we leave, we bring that peace with us, keep it in our hearts. We might return to the building again, perhaps every week, but once tasted and seen, we will never lose it so long as we remember and hold it close.


Lord, thank you for allowing us into your temple. May everyone You give a glimpse of your love and peace to keep it with them. May such moments of shelter turn our lives fully toward you.